by Benjamin Merhav
There are several public scandals - if not crimes - involved in these killing of patients by the shrinks' psychiatric "treatments", at least in Victoria, Australia, as reported below. The first is that all psychiatric "hospitalisations" are no more than arbitrary detention of people in detention centres ("psychiatric wards", "psychiatric hospitals"). These detention centres have no therapeutic function, which is why they should be shut down because proper hospitals are places for recovery, not for punishment. Therefore it is not enough to be concerned only about ''unethical and illegal" practices" in such detention centres.
The second public scandal is the existing monopoly by the shrinks over the entire mental health system, a monopoly given to them by the Mental Health Act, 1986, and interpreted as such by all the state's departments and institutions. This is doubly wrong and harmful, because not only is psychiatric treatment harmful rather than therapeutic as are other effective therapeutic alternatives, but as a coercive "treatment" it violates the basic human rights of patient-victims.
The third public scandal is that psychiatry wrongly claims to be a "medical specialty" which offers "treatment" to its patient-victims. In a recent comment by the renowned American neurologist, Dr. Fred Baughman, MD , he emailed me as follows :
"Psychiatrists never diagnose—establish the existence of a physical abnormality—gross microscopic or chemical (aka disease), but with ECT (and all of their drug treatments) they invariably damage the brain and body. A seizure, no matter how mild is always a sign—proof of damage to the brain regardless of whether or not there are obvious lasting neurological deficits (on physical-neurological examination. Since claiming all mental psychological symptoms to be disease they can no longer rightly claim to be a legitimate part of the medical profession."
Here is the local press report about the psychiatric public scandals :
State urged to act on 'shocking' death rates in mental care
Nick McKenzie and Richard BakerSeptember 5, 2011
More needs to be done to prevent unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths in the mental health system.
VICTORIA'S disabilities watchdog has called for urgent reforms to address the ''shocking'' number of people dying in the state's psychiatric facilities - 36 over two years - amid fresh revelations about the mistreatment of mentally ill people.
The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, says more needs to be done to prevent unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths in the mental health system - and to ensure grieving families and the public are told why such deaths are occurring, and at such a high rate.
Her call comes as an investigation by The Age has found that:■ The Brumby government was warned in 2010 that mentally ill people were dying as a result of ''unethical and illegal'' practices.
■ Peninsula Health chief Sherene Devanesen wrote in 2008 about three ''unexpected deaths'' in a mental health ward over a short period. She also wrote that ''some areas of practice and behaviour were not consistent with Peninsula Health values and … contemporary psychiatric practice.
■ Anthony Travaglini, 40, who died in a psychiatric ward in September 2008, was severely mistreated by ''very aggressive'' staff who repeatedly medicated him despite his deteriorating state, according to fresh claims.
These allegations are contained in a letter sent to the Department of Human Services by the director of the Mental Illness Awareness Council, Isabell Collins, who met staff and patients from Eastern Health's Upton House shortly after Mr Travaglini's death.
In her letter, Ms Collins said a patient had told her he had ''expressed concern to staff that Anthony did not look OK and suggested they take his observations, but they just gave him more drugs''.
A forensic pathologist has found Mr Travaglini's death was most likely caused by a combination of drugs in his system.
Mr Travaglini is one of three people who had an unexpected and unnatural death, and whose cases the The Saturday Age revealed were linked to allegations of serious failings by senior mental health staff at state-run psychiatric wards in recent years.
Ms Collins told The Age that the existing system of oversight into the deaths of Victorians in state-run mental health facilities, or shortly after they are discharged, needs an overhaul.
Her views are supported by the Office of the Public Advocate - an independent statutory body created to protect the rights of disabled and other vulnerable people - which has called on Victoria's Chief Psychiatrist, Ruth Vine, to follow the lead of the Victorian Child Death Committee and make public more information about unexpected or unnatural deaths and associated systemic issues.
Dr Vine's past public reports contain minimal detail about the causes of deaths
and associated systemic issues.
Ms Pearce said discrepancies in figures released by various state agencies, along with the lack of detail about why the deaths were occurring in the system, had to be addressed.
''The community expects that people will be safe from harm in hospitals. The number of people dying while under the care of the mental health system is shocking. There needs to be urgent changes to tackle preventable deaths and improve mental health care. This must be a priority,'' said Ms Pearce.
Ms Pearce's call came in response to revelations in The Saturday Age that 36 people had died unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths inside mental health facilities between 2008 and 2010. The figures are based on files released by the Coroners Prevention Unit, which also reveal that 119, or nearly a quarter, of the 502 coronial inquests held in Victoria between 2008 and 2010 involved people with diagnosed mental illnesses.
Of those 119 mental health coronial cases, almost a third involved deaths of patients while they were being treated at state-run and private mental health facilities.
Ms Pearce said: ''The question for us is why? Why did they die, how could they die [in a mental health facility] and what can we do to prevent it? Families want answers … Why shouldn't families know why their loved ones have died and what did the system do to improve or address the problem?''
She has also called for far greater support for mental health patients before and after they are discharged, including access to appropriate housing and treatment for alcohol and drug dependencies. ''There is a huge campaign on the road toll. Why aren't the same resources put into saving these people?''
Among leaked mental health service documents obtained by The Age is an email by a senior psychiatrist from one of the state's busiest acute mental health units. It was sent in January 2010 to then community services minister Lisa Neville and states: ''You may already be aware that Eastern Health Adult Psychiatry Service has [among] the highest rate of unnatural deaths in the state. What you may not be aware of is the unethical and illegal practices that are resulting in such poor outcomes and the resignation of over 22 senior medical staff since the commencement of management there.
''I would like an audience with you to bring to your attention in confidence some of the practices that are causing such poor outcomes and suffering. I have tried to raise these issues locally but unfortunately been met with vicious attacks on my personal and professional reputation.''
The psychiatrist, who asked for his name to be withheld because he still works in the health system, said his concerns were never addressed.
The Age has also obtained emails written in 2009 by a member of Eastern Health's Community Advisory Committee, which was set up in 2001 to give community representatives input into the health services operations.
The emails show that efforts by a committee member to get information about problems in mental health wards were constantly thwarted.
''I'm seriously thinking of resigning from the Community Advisory Committee as it is too restrictive and I seem to keep getting into trouble for asking questions,'' one email states.
Greg Oke, who was employed for four years as an adviser to Eastern Health on ways to protect the rights of patients, said mental health facilities tended to adopt a ''custodial approach'' to mentally unwell people rather than an approach respecting people's dignity.
Mr Oke, who left Eastern Health in mid 2009, said: ''People using Victorian mental health services are being treated in a cruel, inhumane and degrading way. Their human rights are being degraded on a daily basis.''
(Emphasis in red added - B.M.)