Wednesday, August 12, 2020

They OWN your grief

When you’re in the nuthouse and your mother dies, you don’t get a break.

I attended a staffing this morning by teleconference, for a client named David. His mother recently passed away, and the “clinical” conversation today centered in part around whether he was grieving correctly. The treatment team seemed to think that so far, he is. But they are going to keep an eye on him.

I tried to ask questions about how they can tell whether he’s grieving correctly. My questions were not welcome, and I actually became a little angry, because I think any such judgment is subjective, arrogant to an insulting and dehumanizing extreme, and frankly, BULLSHIT. 

I use the word BULLSHIT advisedly here, in the same sense that the esteemed and powerful psychiatrist and author of DSM-IV, Dr. Allen Frances, M.D., used it when he said psychiatric “diagnosis is bullshit”. I didn’t use the word during the staffing.

I was assured that a “clinical” judgment of whether somebody is grieving correctly after his mother dies is not subjective, and it’s certainly not judging the person who grieves. Judging is of course a hot-button word. I probably could have used BULLSHIT and gotten away with that, but when I accuse mental health professionals of judging patients, they are deeply insulted because their whole field is supposed to be a matter of medical science, never morality. Of course everyone grieves differently for different losses at different times. But the morality of allowing them to do so, of granting them some fundamental respect, is completely lost on these “clinicians”.

Nevertheless, the statement about David had been too clear for me to ignore: “He seems to be grieving normally but we’ll keep monitoring him in case it becomes excessive, or a clinical issue.” That couldn’t mean anything other than, there is a difference between appropriate and excessive grieving, and the expert clinicians who would be doing the monitoring of David’s grieving for the loss of his mother have expert ways of telling the difference, or technical criteria, or tests.

So I just wanted to know what these “clinical” ways of telling the difference between correct and incorrect grieving actually were. They didn’t like that at all!

Well... one type of criteria the team mentioned that I can understand is, if a person can’t sleep and isn’t eating, maybe they are grieving incorrectly. But “can’t sleep” means what? One night? Two? Five in the first week after the loss? More than half of nights two months later? Nobody knows, including David’s treatment team, because as they all admitted, everyone grieves differently for different losses at different times. This was his mother....

“Isn’t eating” might be a clear sign if the person actually loses, say, ten or fifteen pounds below a healthy weight. But what a healthy weight even is for different people at different times is arguable; and strangely, David’s treatment team didn’t bother to suggest any objective statistic like that. They simply insisted that their technical expertise, their arrogant “clinical judgment” was obviously the correct measure and the appropriate evaluation.

This evaluation or monitoring of David’s grieving certainly is subjective judging. I suspect the real yardstick, and the real motive, is what drugs do they want to give this patient? As it happens, David’s psychiatrist is very partial to SSRI “antidepressants” so the death of this patient’s mother will probably be a good excuse to prescribe them. 

I wonder whether these clinicians take drugs to grieve correctly, when people they love die. 

But then again, they are “mental health professionals” — not mental patients like David. They are trusted to choose what’s in their own best interests.

Mental patients are not trusted to know anything, especially about themselves. They are a lower order of humanity, and need “clinical” evaluation by their betters, whom they must trust. Slaves once had to trust their owners, too.

The experts even own your grieving! They judge it to be correct, or drugable. Just like the masters once owned your family, and judged whether to sell your spouse or your child down the river.

Elgin Mental Health Center is not a hospital, it’s a slave plantation. I’m for abolition.

Monday, August 10, 2020

“Hospital”

I have a client at Elgin Mental Health Center who really brings out the irony of pretending that a plantation is a hospital. Gus is a royal pain in the posterior of the drivers, overseers and masters. He’s often a royal pain for me, too, because he manages to broadcast a truly obnoxious level of complexity, even in simple situations. It’s almost miraculous, I’m not sure how he does it.

There have been several monthly staffings I attended when Tom Zubik became intensely frustrated by Gus’ long monologues or litanies of complaints about myriad details of his experience as a mental “patient”. Tom is a decent guy in a challenging (to say the least!) job. I’ve frequently felt sympathy for him, but that’s limited by my suspicion that he actually believes Elgin Mental Health Center is a hospital in the sense of an institution which intends to help people. Any such belief is self-deception, born of stupidity, gradually accumulated over many years of bad acts and lies.

This morning nice and early, Gus called me with the announcement that, “We have another serious issue.” 

This is the usual opening statement for about 80% of all phone calls from Gus. It’s almost as predictable as the opening statement for about 95% of all phone calls from MarcI Webber: “I just have a quick question for you.” 

Gus normally proceeds to tell me long narratives full of tiny details of dubious significance under which the “serious issue” he wants to tell me about is entirely buried; and Marci normally proceeds to keep me on the phone for as long as she possibly can, asking an unlimited number of questions to which she either already knows the answer, or which she knows nobody can answer. Man-oh-man, maybe my job is as tough as Tom Zubik’s!

Anyway, this morning Gus was telling me that he has this pain and that pain, and this medical problem and that medical problem, this need for medicine and that need for medicine, this disagreement with the doctors and that disagreement with the doctors.... I was trying to listen and keep track, when Gus said something about Dr. Shaikis threatening to discontinue his ibuprofen. Because Gus has so many pains and medical problems, this was looking like a very serious issue, indeed.

Dr. Shaikis is the current M.D. who deals with the real medical issues (as opposed to psychiatric stuff) on the unit where Gus is held. I don’t know him at all, I even had to ask Gus how to spell his name. 

I tried to get any clarification about why Dr. Shaikis would discontinue ibuprofen. Theoretically there could be various medical reasons. Maybe Gus takes more of it than he’s supposed to, maybe his blood is too thin, maybe some other analgesic is judged to be better in the circumstances. (I’m not a doctor, my understanding of this is entirely that of a layman.) But I was always under the impression that ibuprofen is not a very dangerous drug, especially compared to other so-called “treatments” (e.g., neuroleptics and ECT) that Gus has been prescribed during his years on the plantation.

Well, as it turns out, I’m pretty sure Dr. Shaikis is simply trying to punish Gus for being such a royal nuisance. That’s the only way it makes sense, and I can understand that very well. Shaikis has recently denied Gus several other therapeutic items that he had previously been used to, including a posturepedic cushion and a list of other things which I can’t remember. (This is according to Gus, so of course it’s a list; he probably maintains a whole spread sheet about it.)

Once again, the concept of a hospital does not work or enable any prediction of a doctor’s motive to punish his patient. That’s not what anyone would expect. EMHC cannot be understood as a hospital.

But on a plantation, slaves are routinely punished. That makes sense!

Monday, August 3, 2020

BURN IT DOWN!

This is certainly a season for violent rhetoric. I would hate to fail to contribute my share.

As plaintiffs' attorneys in five federal lawsuits against employees of the Illinois Department of Human Services, my partner and I continue to receive reports from new witnesses and new potential plaintiffs, as well as more evidence proving our current claims. Dominos are about to fall.

Several patients who have spent lots of time on the White Cottage clinical unit at Elgin Mental Health Center have come forward to say that of course Syed Hussain knew our client in one case was having sex with staff! Everybody knew this kind of criminal abuse was frequent and endemic. There was even a specific room notorious for sexual encounters between male staff and female patients. Certain staff handed the women back and forth among each other as favors, under a guise of "introductions".

Everyone is threatened into silence about this kind of abuse, and most lower level unit workers are afraid of gang reprisals for reporting it. Those in higher positions, psychiatrists and administrators, avoid all mention of verbal reports and suspicions so nothing gets written down, and no hard questions will come back from places like Springfield or the Joint Commission.

Just this morning I got a new report that a patient on N Unit was forcibly drugged for no legitimate reason over the weekend. Some night shift nurse was merely annoyed that he wouldn't do a menial task she asked of him, and though he posed no conceivable threat to himself or anyone else, she had him held down and shot up with drugs. It was punishment, to set an example.

Last week a psychiatrist who was once thought to be friendly toward a patient at Chicago Read MHC issued an unsubtle threat: "If you disagree with my diagnosis, maybe I'll just change it to a worse one, how would you like that?" The pretense of medicine is ridiculous.

I could go on and on with examples. It just makes me angry. Suffice it to say one more time: EMHC, Read, and Chester need to be closed, razed, plowed under; and the acreage they have been located on needs to be seeded with radioactive waste so no one can ever live or work there again, for at least a thousand years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The good die young... but the good go free.

My wife and I are saddened by the passing of Kelly Preston. We will miss her, she was a wonderful and beautiful woman.

Not least of her virtues was a complete absence of any need for sympathy or any interest in status as a victim. She never even bothered to mention her two-year battle with cancer to her many admirers and friends. We believe she had absolutely no fear of death.

My own mother passed away with similar nobility, almost exactly two years ago. She didn’t know Kelly, but I suspect they would have gotten along well. Both of them were extremely spiritual, utterly unafraid.

People like this inspire the rest of the human race to live and love.

Thank you!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Good news or just more repression?

Elgin Mental Health Center is offering COVID19 tests for all patients on a voluntary basis. That's a good thing. But of course, it has to be done in the context of a slave plantation mentality to ruin the whole picture.

To date there has been less of a corona virus disaster in Illinois forensic mental health facilities than might have been expected. I predicted a real shit show, and it hasn't happened. Apparently there have been handfuls of cases here and there, or even less than a handful at Elgin. Somebody deserves credit for that.

I'm told that a meeting was held on N Unit announcing to patients they could get tested. One of the guys I advocate for spoke up with the audacious opinion that all staff should be required to be tested. This is a very reasonable idea, whether or not it's completely practical given union concerns, etc.

The patients are easily monitored and their possible exposure to the virus is totally controlled, because they don't go anywhere. They've been on lockdown for months. Almost all activities and "treatments" (other than drug dispensing) have been cancelled. But the staff leave every day, and no one knows with whom they are in contact, whether they social distance, etc. Anyone concerned about an epidemic inside the facility should have their attention on the staff first and foremost.

I can't see how my client's suggestion at the meeting about testing was anything but logical, and in the obvious interests of just about everyone. The only people whose interests are contrary to that suggestion are those who want to say that my client is subhuman, lacking any right to speak up about staff at all under any circumstance, necessarily irrational, and badly behaved from his "mentally ill" brain that needs constant drugging.

There were a couple such people at this meeting, and they just jumped all over my client. His completely reasonable suggestion was considered to be "hostility" caused either by: 1. his bad brain, or 2. his association with me. (Good luck with charting that, guys, or alleging it in court!)

As to 2., yes! Of course the patients on N Unit appear hostile to staff due to their association with me. By association with me, they derive some hope of freedom from psychiatric slavery. The staff would allow them no such hope, that's the design of the system.

Dr. Vikramjit Gill, the N Unit psychiatrist, has been very reasonable in my opinion, in a number of cases. He definitely helped Sean Gunderson get his conditional release. He knows I am not quite so dogmatic about psychiatric drugs as some of his colleagues may think. He and I have had a fairly cordial relationship and some interesting conversations.

Now Dr. Gill tells this particular "patient" that he has changed for the worse, and maybe it's all because he's been talking to me.

Gill has to say that, he is required to think that, by a boss somewhere who can threaten his job and even his professional reputation if he doesn't toe the forensic psychiatric mafia line.

It will get worse for a while, but when abolition is final, Gill will be free, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Chicago Read MH Center: Dr. Sobut vs. honest staff

Dr. Robert A. Sobut is the Plantation Master at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center, where Marci Webber is held. I attended (by teleconference) a monthly staffing today. Sobut struck me as kind of a "gang leader" personality, straight out of some TV show like "Narcos".

That's not, by the way, because he's part of a psychiatric drug-pushing institution (Chicago Read of course is -- if laughingly -- licensed as a "hospital" and Sobut is an M.D. with prescribing privileges), but really because of the way he tries to threaten, intimidate and control everyone around him, and apparently believes he's entitled to do that. Let me explain....

Sobut is one of six signatories at the bottom of a 24-page "90-Day NGRI Treatment Plan Report" sent to the DuPage County Circuit Court for docket # 2010-CF-002643, regarding Marci Webber, dated 5/13/2020. I've never seen a 24-page 90-day report. It actually seems not only unnecessary for such a report to be that extensive, but stupid from the perspective of the people who put it together. When it's that long, it is almost certain to contain something that is provably false.

When somebody signs such a report they are effectively swearing under oath that everything in it is true. The court depends upon these reports as valid "medical records" that are admissible pursuant to the rules of evidence. If something in the report is proven to be false, then somebody may have committed perjury, and the signers, of course, are the first suspects.

Generally the social worker (in this case, Vera Hosely, MA) has the administrative responsibility to word process and get the treatment team's collaboration on the final draft of a 90-day report which is sent to the court. However there are various approval lines. In this case, Dr. Sobut certainly would have had to give his OK. Quite possibly, Timothy Cummings, Anatoiley Pyslar, Adebisi Olasimbo and Sabi Kolath all had some familiarity with this report on Marci before it was finally sent. There may have been somebody higher up the bureaucratic food chain, too. James Patrick Corcoran, perhaps?

There is a paragraph on page 20, which reads:

"It should be noted that frequent behavior management incidents continue to be reported on Ms. Webber by the treatment staff of B-South. For example, on 5/12/2020, she reportedly threw a cup of water at the DD peer with whom she frequently engages in disputes...."

This comes at the tail end of 11 pages, describing about 75 supposed incidents blamed on Marci, said to have occurred between 2/11/2020 and 5/12/2020.

The trouble is, it didn't happen. Somebody just made it up. There is no report of this by the treatment staff of B-South. I don't know how many of the other incidents are equally false, but this one at least provably is. One of the reasons Marci's judge granted her a conditional release last fall was because he had enough evidence that the people saying she needed to stay locked up were liars.

During the staffing today, I had a bit of a confrontation with Robert A. Sobut. I only had two questions. My questions were: 1. Who word-processed or assembled or OK'd the text of the final draft of the 5/13/2020, 90-day report on Marci Webber? and 2. Who added the item on page 20, about Marci throwing a glass of water on 5/12/2020? 

Sobut more or less threw me out of the staffing for insisting on answers to those two questions, although I promised I would shut up and just listen politely for the rest of the time, if he would only answer them. He even asked me to repeat the questions precisely, so he could write them down. Then he just flat-out, arrogantly, refused to answer and refused to even admit he was refusing to answer. That's when I left (hung up).

But the best part came next. People who know they are acting unethically actually try to get caught.

Marci eventually walked out of the staffing, but she stood by the open door and listened. The remaining meeting participants did now know she was there. Vera Hosely, the social worker, immediately protested very anxiously, that she was not the one who put the false report on page 20 about Marci throwing a glass of water. Dr. Pyslar looked uncomfortable and nervously muttered something useless, as he frequently does.

Then Dr. Sobut told everyone: Do not talk to Mr. Kretchmar. Do not tell him anything! This was clearly an order from the boss: obey, shut up, stonewall any investigation, or you'll be in big trouble!

Chicago Read Mental Health Center sure seems to be run by Robert Sobut in the style of an organized crime group. So do all the other facilities run by the Illinois Department of Human Services. So does "forensic mental health" just about everywhere it exists.

And that's because... well, they are organized crime groups!

More on Marci Webber's appeal

The following is an excerpt from pages 44-45 of the appellate Reply filed by Marci's attorneys. This case effectively documents the utter corruption of what the public presumes (because it's been sold to them) to be medicine. The point is, coercive psychiatry is NOT medicine. It never was and never will be.

     "The trial court’s September 2019 opinion also supports that Marci had good reason to distrust Dr. Malis and DHS generally. The judge found it troubling that Elgin Mental Health Center falsified Marci’s records at Dr. Malis’ direct request, and as the trial court noted, the State did not rebut this evidence. (C. 783). Specifically, when a nurse, Terry Nicholas, wrote a positive progress note in Marci’s chart, Dr. Malis “was not pleased with this charting and did not want pleasant things regarding [Marci] reported as it would harm his intent to petition the court to obtain an order for forced medication on [Marci].” (C. 783, R. 2880-2882). In this appeal, the State urges that this Court “not consider [Terry Nicholas’] biased testimony.” (Pl. Brf. 45). In doing so, the State is improperly asking this Court to reweigh the evidence and conduct credibility determinations, while also ignoring the fact that it did not present evidence to contradict Mr. Nicholas’ testimony. Moreover, Dr. Malis admitted that he continued to consider ordering involuntary medication for Marci, and his testimony made clear that his basis for considering such an order was not a concern that Marci was dangerous, but as a means to help Marci cooperate with DHS’ rules and expectations. (R. 2710). Such a purpose does not meet the legal standard necessary for court-ordered involuntary medication. 405 ILCS 5/2-107.1(a)(4).

     "The trial court was understandably further troubled by these events at Elgin Mental Health Center in the context of evidence he received at the 2017 conditional release hearing, which amplified serious discrepancies in Marci’s treatment reports from Chicago Read Mental Health Center. (C. 783-784). Marci’s psychologist at the time, Dr. Jock, testified at the 2017 hearing that Marci did not meet the criteria for any mental illness, she did not exhibit suicidal behavior or dangerousness towards others, and inpatient treatment was no longer necessary. (R. 844, 846, 849). Likewise, Marci’s social worker, Dr. Menezes, similarly testified at the 2017 hearing that Marci did not have a mental illness, was not a danger to herself or others, and did not require inpatient treatment. (R. 801, 805, 807). Yet, both professionals signed Marci’s treatment plan reports that stated she continued to require inpatient care due to her mental illness. (C. 521). Despite this very troubling evidence, throughout its brief the State characterizes Marci’s distrust of DHS as “paranoid” and “delusional.”