Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

Simone D & John Kelly stop shock, now call to abolish shock

Congratulations to Simone D and John Kelly, their lawyers and lots of shock survivors and others who supported their courageous and successful fight to stop shock! Unfortunately, there are many thousands of other brothers and sisters that have not been as successful as Simone D and John Kelly- many have been permanently disabled or died after being electroshocked. The brain damage, disability, and death toll caused by shock is a virtual pandemic.

ALL men and women, especially older women(60+), ending up in the psychiatric system are at great risk of being forcibly electroshocked and drugged – without “informed consent“. Two to three times more women than men are electroshocked – I have Ontario “ECT” stats to prove this fact. Shock is invariably administered against people’s will – “informed consent” to shock and psychiatric drugs is a complete sham & myth because it’s constantly violated. We need more class-action lawsuits, public education, political action, and international networking and solidarity to stop this TORTURE, this MENTICIDE, masquerading as “safe, effective & lifesaving treatment”. As we know, electroshock is a memory-destroying, brain-damaging, sexist, ageist, coercive, unethical psychiatric procedure, not a “safe, effective, lifesaving treatment.” It never was.


p.s. Tune in today, August 29 at 4pm (EDT) to listen to David Oaks interviewing shock survivor-antipsychiatry activist Sue Clark on MindFreedom Radio
I’m also interviewing Sue this Friday, August 31 on CKLN (88.1FM), at 6:30 (EST)


Forced shock of Simone D stopped!

From MindFreedom International News – 28 August 2007:
For the second time in one month a forced electroshock is STOPPED!Simone D. wins! John Kelly wins!

Simone D. is a psychiatric inmate in the Creedmoor psychiatric institution in New York State. New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH), using taxpayer money, aggressively pursued obtaining a court order to give Simone D. forced electroshock against her expressed wishes.

Simone D. had clearly said electroshock caused her pain and suffering. She knew what she was talking about. Simone D. previously had 200 electroshocks, also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Making matters worse, Simone D. speaks only Spanish, but for years she has been denied counseling or even staff fluent in Spanish, except for a short period of a few weeks.
Today, Simone D.’s attorneys announced that she won! This morning, 28 August 2007, a court ruled that the two-year-oldorder to give her forced electroshock had been set aside. Said Kim Darrow, one of her attorneys, “I was able to get the original judge to order a hearing, on the ground that his main reason for granting the shock order — that Simone might not eat and starve — no longer applies.”

Simone D.’s attorneys were able to show that during the nearly 20 month delay as they fought for her right to say “no” to electroshock, Simone did not starve as the doctors had predicted.

Far from it.

Free from electroshock during the court battle, Simone D. actually experienced a 34 pound weight gain! Kim explained, “The hearing was held this morning before a different judge. He ruled that Creedmoor failed to carry its burden of proof.” The judge canceled out OMH’s court order for Simone D.’s forced electroshock, that has hung over her head these past two years, since 2005.

This is the second person to win a victory in one month over forced electroshock by the New York State Office of Mental Health following a campaign of public alerts and court battles. David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International said, “Thank you to Simone D. and her great attorneys, Dennis Feld and Kim Darrow. And thank you to the many people who spoke out against her forced electroshock. The fact that John Kelly and now Simone D. have both been able to stop their planned forced electroshock shows there is hope! Keep up the pressure. Let’s end all forced electroshock!”

You are encouraged to read and act on the original alert for Simone D. This time, write your legislators and call for ending all future forced electroshock in New York State!

Read about John Kelly’s victory earlier this month here.

More updates will be on the MindFreedom Free Live Internet Radio Show tomorrow, Wednesday, 29 August 2007, at 4 pm ET when electroshock survivor Sue Clark of Canada is the guest. At that time click this link to listen in. You may phone in comments and questions live, or e-mail the show.

More info on the weekly MindFreedom Web Radio Show is here.

No forced shock for SimoneD

This just in from Simone’s attorneys, the forced shock of SIMONE has been stopped as of a court hearing this morning, Tuesday, 28 August 2007.

More details soon!!!!!!!!

Spread the word!!!!


wonderful! a huge victory for Simone and the movemement!! – big thanks to you, Dennis & Kim for the hard work that paid off – I’ll post this news tonight on the CAPA blogsite & CanSurvivors listserve
–  plan to listen to your interview with Sue Clark tomorrow
I’m also interviewing her this Friday at 6:30pm (EST),
hope you can tune in then

Sue Clark’s letter re Dr. Evan’s letter

Sue Clark writes,

Dear Editor:

I read the article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail by Dr. Michael Evans praising the use of electroshock (ECT).

I have a difference of opinion for good reason. I had electroshock in 1973 at the age of 17 years old against my will at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital in Ontario. On my 5th ECT, my heart stopped. As a result of having had ECT, I suffer from permanent memory loss and have difficulty learning anything new.

Dr. Peter R. Breggin, a psychiatrist from the USA wrote an article recently entitled “Disturbing News for Patients and Shock Doctors Alike”. In his article he states “Something most remarkable and unexpected has occurred in the field of psychiatry. Lead by a lifelong defender and promoter of shock treatment, Harold Sackeim, a team of investigators has recently published a follow up study of 347 patients given the currently available methods of electroshock, including the supposedly most benign forms–and confirmed that electroshock causes permanent brain damage and dysfunction.”

There have many studies and reports proving ECT always causes brain damage. It is time to ban ECT the atrocity that it is. ECT is a crime against humanity. It is unethical and barbaric. No one should have to go through what I did.

Sue Clark-Wittenberg
Executive Director
The Wittenberg Center to End Electroshock

Dr. Michael Evans another shock promoter

In yesterday’s Globe and Mail/Life-Health Section (Aug. 21), Dr. Michael Evans (Western Hospital in Toronto) hypes electroshock as treatment for depression, cites 2 prominent doctors helped by shock, and claims memory loss is “transient”, claims “convulsions are no longer part of the treatment”, claims “ECT” is simpler and safer & other lies. The article is entitled “Stigma over shadows ECT’s effectiveness.”Perhaps some letters to Michael Evans and the editor might convey some truth to this one-sided hype job!


Speaking Out On Prisoners Justice Day

 I read most of this joint RAP/CAPA statement on August 10, 2007, Prisoners Justice Day, during a vigil in front of the Don Jail in Toronto.  – Don


We see the psychiatric system and the criminal “injustice” system as mutually reinforcing approaches that the state uses to control human beings. We recognize that classism, racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, and ableism are all implicated in psychiatric oppression. We focus on anti-psychiatry activities while highlighting the connection among the oppressions. Toward that end, we demonstrate, do nonviolent civil disobedience, speak out, and distribute information. Our groups include primarily ex-inmates as well as other anti-psychiatry activists.

What are the connections between the psychiatric and criminal justice systems?

•     Prisoners of both systems are locked up against their will.
•     Prisoners of both systems are denied access to information, wanted services, visits, sex, the media, and the public at large.
•     Just as people die in prisons, people die in psychiatric institutions through drug overdoses and improper mixing of drugs.
•     In both systems public investigations do not occur.
•     Both systems use solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, and forced transfers as means of control.
•     Just as women in the prison system are subject to extra oppression, women in the psychiatric institutions are subjected to more electroshock, more damaging drugs, and longer confinement.
•     In both institutions, lesbians and gays are doubly oppressed.
•     Both systems use coercive treatment such as drugging and shocking without informed and free consent.
•     Both systems deny the need for AIDS education, prevention, and treatment.
•     Both systems claim to be benefiting society while actually promoting hierarchy and oppression.
•     Both systems claim to be helping the prisoner, while, instead, punishing and controlling

There are many humane and more effective ways to help people in crisis. As examples, we propose these alternatives to prisons and psychiatric institutions: crisis and healing centres, community justice circles, residential-therapeutic houses, supportive housing, and decriminalization of drug and petty offences.


For more information, call Don: 416-545-0796 or

August 10, 2004

Dr.John Friedberg’s anti-shock testimony (5/18/01)

Source: <>

NYC, May 18, 2001
“In view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they (the masses) more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.” Adolph Hitler. Mein Kampf, Vol.1, Ch. 10, 1924 tr. Ralph Manheim, 1943
My name is John Friedberg. I am a board certified neurologist practicing in Berkeley, California.
I was born in Far Rockaway (NYC) in 1942, graduated Lawrence High School, Yale University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and for the past twenty years I’ve been seeing patients with every conceivable neurologic problem, from headaches to Huntington’s, in my office and in hospitals.
I am in good standing with my hospitals, professional societies and licensing boards and I’m proud to say I’ve never been successfully sued.
In 1975 I published my book “Shock Treatment Is Not Good For Your Brain” and in 1979 “Shock Treatment, Brain Damage and Memory Loss,” a peer reviewed article in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
I do not believe in mental illness. Depression is no more “the same as diabetes” than heartbreak is the same as a heart attack.
I do not believe in hypothetical diseases of the mind but there is no mistaking damage to the brain. Psychiatric drugs and electroshock inflict real injury in the name of treating fictive maladies. Paul Henri Thomas has Tardive Dyskinesia and heptatitis from psychiatric drugs and amnesia from the ECT.
My opinions are based on my years of experience with patients and review of records from all over the country as an expert witness electroshock malpractice cases. They are based on ECT statistics from the six states which mandate reporting; and of necessity, my opinions are based on a lifetime following publications and statements issuing from the small but vocal minority of psychiatrists who believe in ECT and usually nothing but.
Fortunately for me, the believers don’t always believe each other; their data frequently belie their conclusions; and what they actually do contradicts what they say they do. The truth slips out.
As one example: we have known since the 1950’s that confining electroshock to the non-verbal hemisphere (usually the right as in “unilateral non-dominant ECT”) causes less verbal impairment and memory loss than bilateral ECT but the recommendation to begin with non-dominant ECT is honored mostly in the breech.
Another example: the “grandfather” of ECT, Dr. Max Fink claims the rate of memory loss is 1 in 200. He has repeated this so often it sounds like a fact. But Harold Sackeim, Ph.D., just as much an enthusiast and just as aggressive, says Fink’s figure has “no scientific basis.”
Who to believe? My view is that memory loss from ECT is no “side effect;” it’s the main effect and the best studies find it in 100% of subjects.
Incidentally, Dr. Fink didn’t pick the number 1/200 out of thin air. 1/200 has consistently been the death rate from ECT administration – as far back as 1958 and as recently as Texas and Illinois in the 1990’s.
Big Lie 1: Dr. Fink tells people that ECT is safer than childbirth. If one out of every 200 women were dying in delivery it would be front page news.
Big Lie 2: ECT doesn’t cause brain damage. One picture will refute that. The illustration below (MRI on the right, CT left, same patient) depicts a large hemorrhage from ECT. Hemorrhages, large and small, cause permanent seizure disorders in some patients.

( Weisberg, L. Elliott, D and Mielke, D: Intracerebral Hemorrhage Following Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). November 1991, Neurology V 41 p 1849.)
Another MRI study documented a breakdown of the blood brain barrier and cerebral edema – brain swelling – after each and every shock. (Mander et al: British Journal of Psychiatry, 1987: V 151, p 69-71)
Big lie 3: ECT is new and improved. The whole point of ECT is to trigger a convulsion and there is simply no way around the brain’s threshold: 100 joules of energy, a typical “dose,” whether brief pulse, square wave, sine wave, AC or DC, unilateral or bilateral, with or without oxygen equals the energy it takes to light up a 100 watt bulb for one second or drop a 73 pound weight one foot. And it’s the energy that does the damage.
Big lie 4: ECT is a “Godsend” (Fink again). In March of this year, Dr. Sackeim published a study in JAMA showing a “relapse rate” of 84% within six months of stopping ECT. It is no coincidence that improvement ceases just as the concussive effects are finally waning. Sackeim’s solution?: more ECT. Call it “maintenance” or call it “continuation,” just don’t stop. (JAMA. 2001;285:1299-1307).
Big lie 5: No one knows how ECT works. On the contrary, everyone knows how ECT works. It works by erasing memory and terrifying people.
ECT isn’t back – it never went away. It’s more common than appendectomy.
What has happened is that it’s advocates have grown more arrogant and the number of patients forced to undergo ECT against their will is increasing.
This was brought to public attention by Paul Henri Thomas fighting for his life and his mind at Pilgrim State Hospital on Long Island. Over the past two years he has been subjected to 60 shocks and a judge just ordered up 40 more. The newspapers state the Mr. Thomas was born in Haiti, emigrated from oppression and was granted American citizenship.
To be held down, drugged and forcibly administered convulsive dose after convulsive dose of electroshock to the head: can anyone think of a greater assault on a human being’s rights – short of death – in the whole world? And it’s happening here in the land of the free. That’s not acceptable.
We have had 60 years of poignant testimony from eloquent victims of electroshock. Ernest Hemingway complained it ruined his memory and put him out of business. He killed himself within weeks of concluding a second course of ECT. George Orwell ends 1984 with his protagonist being forced to love Big Brother on an electroshock table.
I urge you to declare a moratorium on electroconvulsive therapy until it can be proven safe by evidence, not proclamation.
I urge you to declare a moratorium on electroconvulsive therapy until patients can be guaranteed free and informed choice.
Thank you.

Another survivor dead from heat & drugs

From Canadian Press: Suzanne Young, Sarnia; died from heat

Heat victim couldn’t afford AC fee

SARNIA — Neighbours say a mentally ill woman found dead in her sweltering apartment couldn’t afford air conditioning.
Police cited excessively hot temperatures in Suzanne Young’s apartment as a possible factor in the 49-year-old’s death. “It is possible that the heat contributed to her death,” said coroner Dr. David Eden. He added there was no reason to suspect foul play. Young was found in her bed on the weekend by a neighbour who became concerned after not seeing her take her usual morning walk. “We were all wondering where she went because the last day we saw her was Thursday,” said Timothy Duquette, who lives in the area. Shanna MacDonald, who adopted Young’s 15-year-old daughter as a child, said Young was on medication for mental illness, including schizophrenia. Friends said Young was living on social assistance and cleaned up the parking lots at two local coffee and convenience stores for extra money. Because of her fixed income, Young could not afford the $50 monthly fee charged by her landlord to cover electricity costs of a window air conditioner, said her friend Jane McNevan.

HORRIBLE AND INEXCUSABLE – another state-sanctioned crime of neglect/indifference/discrimination against poor women & psychiatric survivors like Suzanne Young

– Don Weitz

Don’t shock John Kelly – letter

August 6, 2007

James Bopp
Executive Director
Rockland Psychiatric Center
140 Old Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, NY 10962

Dear Mr. Bopp,
As an insulin shock survivor and antipsychiatry activist, I am writing to urge you not to authorize electroshock (“ECT”) for John Kelley, who is currently incarcerated in your psychiatric facility. I understand that you and the New York Office of Mental Health have authorized a series of electroshocks for Mr. Kelly without his informed consent, against his will. As you may be aware, administering any medical or psychiatric treatment to a patient without his/her informed consent constitutes assault under most criminal codes – it’s also a serious violation of medical ethics. Apparently, it’s ok to forcibly shock people like John Kelley and Simone D against their will in New York State. I strongly disagree – it is not ok, it is shameful.

I wish to point out that electroshock is an extremely invasive, hi-risk psychiatric procedure that should have been banned years ago. Why? Because it has already harmed many thousands of citizens in the United Sates and other countries including Canada where I live. More specifically, electroshock has permanently traumatized, brain- damaged, and ruined the careers and lives of several close friends, acquaintenances and activists. This so-called “safe and effective treatment” always causes permanent memory loss and brain damage. For documentation, I recommend you read the recently published journal article by Dr. Harold Sackeim and others (“The Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Community Settings”, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2007), as well as the shock panel report and personal testimony of shock survivors posted on this website There are no therapeutic benefits of electroshock.

Forced electroshock is torture. I urge you to do what is right, ethical and humane – do not electroshock John Kelly.
Don Weitz
Co-founder, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault
1401-38 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M4R 2G3

C: Darby Penney, New York Office of Mental Health
David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
Leonard Roy Frank, electroshock survivor, editor and author
Peter R. Breggin, MD, psychiatrist and author
John Friedberg, MD, neurologist and author
Ronald Bassman, PhD, psychologist and author

Speak out against forced shocking of John Kelly in NY

From: Don Weitz <>
Subject: Fwd: [ZapBack!] Fwd: No forced shock for John Kelly
Cc: capa/appl, capa/mal, CanSurvivors,,,,

Please voice your protest against another outrageous example of forced electroshock in NY rubber-stamped by the New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) – this time it’s John Kelly, who will be next?! Simone D is still in great danger of being forcibly and repeatedly shocked 30 more times-,she’s already been shocked about 200 times! Both are locked up in the notorious psychoprison Rockland Psychiatric Center. Psychiatrists and other doctors who shock and/or drug people against their will or without informed consent should be charged, tried and convicted of torture as Sue Clark has urged – not praised and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year which is what many shock promoter-shrinks are paid in the US and Canada for damaging people’s brains.
see article re Kelly & email addresses below – also posting this on the CAPA blogsite

From: David Oaks <>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 14:52:57 -0700
To: zapback <>
Subject: [ZapBack!] Fwd: No forced shock for John Kelly

I hope others have also taken a moment to e-mail about John Kelly and oppose his forced electroshock!!!

We know from an inside source attorney that public attention has upset the hornet’s nest inside the mental health system!

Yes, we ought to do much more than e-mail, and we hopefully all will… but e-mailing a brief civil note takes just a moment… At then least we are then on record as SPEAKING OUT! At least they can never say, “no one complained.”

Below is such a note by a really dynamic activist in New York I’m proud to call a friend, Darby, thanks Darby!!!!!!

Feel free to forward:

Begin forwarded message:

—– Forwarded message from —–
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 16:30:45 -0400
Subject: No forced shock for John Kelly

James Bopp, Executive Director
Rockland Psychiatric Center
140 Old Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, New York 10962

Dear Jim,

Having worked with you over many years and having known you as a
proponent of empowerment and choice for people with psychiatric
disabilities, I find it difficult to reconcile that experience with
the news that Rockland Psychiatric Center is taking legal action to
force John Kelly to undergo ECT against his expressed wishes and
despite his claims of memory loss from prior voluntary ECT.

I feel strongly that a procedure as invasive as forced ECT over
objection is simply
incompatible with a recovery orientation. Even Harold
Sackheim, long-time proponent of ECT, recognized in a 2007 article
what many unfortunate ECT survivors have known for decades: that ECT
causes brain damage and memory loss. I cannot understand how any
mental health professional can believe that forcing this
controversial procedure on an objecting individual is ethical.

Jim, I know that you are a man of conscience and I urge you to
intervene to stop this human rights violation from being perpetrated
on Mr. Kelly.


Darby Penney

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