By Benjamin Merhav
The local press report below has a tiny bit of good news for potential "mental patients" here, in the state of Victoria, Australia. There is a bill which would ban the use of electric shocks (ECT) here against very young children under the age of 12. If this bill would be voted into an act of Parliament it would save the lives of many very young children, but not the lives of older children and adults. However, if such a law would be the first step of a policy which would bring some sanity into the mental health jungle here, then it would be good news, of course.
As I have pointed out many times - with proven scientific evidence ! - psychiatry is not a "medical specialty" and its mental illness dogma has no basis in reality nor in science (see for example my recent post on this
However, even if we ignore truth and science, and accept the psychiatric dogma, namely that there are "mentally ill" people who need "psychiatric treatment" to be forced on them, there certainly is no place for such "treatment" of very young children, including even infants, whose brains are still developing !
Yet, we are informed by this press report that "Doctors from the University of Melbourne department of psychiatry mounted the most strident objections to the changes, arguing they imply doctors are ''evil and want to harm their patients''. Well, if they are not evil and want to harm their patients ,why do they insist on torturing very young children by electric shocks (ECT) "treatment" , even against the objections of the childrens' parents ?
Which brings us to the history of ECT. This psychiatric "treatment" was invented in 1938 by Ugo Cerletti (1877 - 1963), an Italian psychiatrist. The Wikipedia tells us that "the idea to use ECT in humans came first to him by watching pigs being anesthetised with electroshock before being butchered, in Rome"( see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Back in Australia now we find the website of the son of a "mental patient"whose mother was forced to get the ECT. He concludes his front page as follows :
New laws to ban electric shocks on children
Jill StarkJuly 31, 2011
Electric shock therapy machines. Photo: Brendan Read
ELECTRIC shock therapy on young children will be banned and psychiatrists could be jailed for carrying out the controversial treatment on teenagers and adults without strict legal checks, under proposed legislation.
Under a review of Victoria's Mental Health Act, new legislation has been drafted that would outlaw electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT, for children aged 12 and under.
Doctors would still be able to use it on 13 to 17-year-olds without their parents' consent if they can convince a mental health tribunal that all other treatment options have been exhausted.
The same rules will apply to adults, with the final decision on whether to use shock therapy taken out of psychiatrists' hands and given to the tribunal. Doctors who breach the laws will face up to a year in jail.
The treatment, immortalised in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, induces seizures by delivering an electrical current to the brain.
Proponents say the movie unfairly stigmatised the procedure, and the use of anaesthetic and advances in technology have made it safer. But its use on children, whose brains are still developing, remains contentious.
ECT is usually used to treat patients with severe depression or extreme mania whose conditions have not improved with other treatments. While it is still unclear how the treatment works, it is thought the shock-induced seizures affect chemicals in the brain that influence mood.
In submissions to the mental health review, legal groups including Youthlaw and the Law Institute of Victoria, along with Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary, the Mental Health Council of Australia and the national depression group beyondblue, have welcomed the changes, saying they provide greater protection for vulnerable patients. Others want the legislation to go further, with a complete ban for anyone under 18.
However, psychiatrists say the new laws are too punitive and could lead to increased suicides as severely depressed people are denied ''life-saving'' treatment.
Last year The Sunday Age revealed there had been a 10 per cent rise in the number of patients receiving shock therapy since the previous year.
Almost 20,000 sessions were carried out on 1791 patients in Victorian hospitals in the 2009-10 financial year, including 46 sessions on seven children under 17 and a further 163 on an undisclosed number of 18 to 19-year-olds.
In submissions, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing Federation called for the draft bill to be amended to allow shock therapy on children.
Doctors from the University of Melbourne department of psychiatry mounted the most strident objections to the changes, arguing they imply doctors are ''evil and want to harm their patients''.
One of the doctors, David Castle, who is also chair of psychiatry at St Vincent's Hospital, told The Sunday Age that while shock therapy on children was extremely rare, it was a valuable treatment option.
''Anything that categorically bans it could be enormously damaging because some youngsters do get very severe depression and ECT is an extremely effective and very safe treatment. The new law means it's going to be very difficult to give it to a patient, especially in an emergency when people are in a totally dire situation where they're not eating or drinking or intensely suicidal,'' he said.
Under the draft laws, doctors would be limited to a maximum of 12 sessions of electric shock therapy per patient and would have to seek permission from a mental health tribunal.
Youthlaw's submission expressed concern about the effects of shock therapy on the developing brain and called for a ban on the treatment for patients up to the age of 25.
A spokeswoman for Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge said the reforms were complex and the state government was reviewing feedback.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-laws-to-ban-electric-shocks-on-children-20110730-1i5px.html#ixzz1TdTURYzJ