Monday, January 25, 2010

Liberty or Mental Health, part 2

It seems over-obvious to me, that when any private doctor or private hospital forces products or services on an unwilling patient and then charges the patient or the patient's insurance, the situation is well outside the realm of normal business transactions and relationships. The first question becomes, how exactly do doctors or hospitals, as entirely private actors, pull that off and get away with it?

The answer is quite simply, they are not entirely private actors, they are doing the state's business. They are effectively deputized.

A psychiatrist or other doctor who "certifies" a person for emergency commitment becomes the state's designated decision-maker. He authorizes the use of the state's coercive power to hold someone against their will in a locked room, often with security guards outside to prevent escape. The hospital which pays the guards and maintains the locked room becomes the state's designated custodian. No other private person may authorize the arrest and effect the involuntary custody of an individual. 

Doctors and hospitals do this, however, for at least some limited time, longer than what it takes for law enforcement to arrive on the scene and take over per their independent observation and judgement, as in a citizen's arrest. In fact, doctors and hospitals take their cues for involuntary emergency commitments directly from law enforcement after the fact, if a person is brought in by the police. The police go away and the hospital takes over for them, even if the "patient" continues to insist that he or she wishes to leave.

Private individuals, no matter who they are, may not unilaterally deprive a person of his or her liberty for mental illness without medical and institutional (hospital) authority. Such authority is not inured in the general citizenry. It is bestowed by the state. In fact, in modern times it is formally bestowed with great and complex ritual, in written state mental health codes.

If a person is confronted by police in a private home, strapped to a gurney and removed over his protests to an emergency room, guarded there and prevented from leaving or making phone calls to family or attorneys, assaulted and battered, unsubtly threatened with continued imprisonment unless and until he signs legal papers absolving everyone involved, and if he is then billed thousands of dollars for "hospitalization and treatment" ... and if everyone maintains after the fact that it was all perfectly legal ... I say we have combined action under color of law by public and deputized private actors.

If the involuntary "patient" was indeed dangerous to self or others, perhaps the state action was justified. But if the individual was never dangerous to anyone, everyone who did it to him should have to pay for the insult, big-time.

The state deputizes doctors and hospitals to remove those who seem dangerous, or those who are particularly obnoxious.  But people prefer not to look very closely at the application of violence against individuals. They are squeemish, and they're happy to believe that involuntary psychiatric commitment is really medical "help" rather than imprisonment. Before most of us ever notice that the therapeutic state is all about tyranny rather than therapy, it may be too late.

That's why those of us who are forced to notice should at least be allowed to sue!


  1. My experience was with psychoquacks and their strong men employed directly and (usually)exclusively by the state. THEY did not receive any cues whatsover, but, rather, DIRECT COMMANDS by members of the political class, e.g. states attorneys, the governor, etc. Absent the sponsorship of the state and its agents these psychiatric thugs could not operate at all. A recent example of this is in the news down here around St. Louis at the moment. A very feared/disliked sex offender is about finished with his prison sentence and the St. Clair County State's Attorney is "suggesting" the offender could be "assessed" by "experts" as to whether he should be subjected "treatment" a sex offender madhouse. The truth is this politician will COMMAND a state paid psychowhore to DECLARE the offender "mentally ill". It's that simple in this scenario. The "expert" (if he wants to get paid) has no CHOICE about what to claim he "found" in his "examination" of the offender. The expert who will likely be used is our old friend Daniel J. Cuneo or some similar mercenary of the state. The state thus promotes coercive psychiatry by actually financing and directing it on the one hand, and on the other hand, granting IMMUNITY to those in the civilian sector who inflict it on citizens.

    The state does not permit itself to be sued. And it shelters psychiatric thugs working independently by laughing off any serious attempts in the courts for redress over psychiatric assault and imprisonment.

    Only POWERLESS people get screwed over by psychiatry. The true culprit in this whole affair is, and always was, the state. But it is not real safe to go about clamoring for the demolition of the state.

  2. Whoever did this me should pay for the insult? That's for sure.

    The police and admitting psychiatrist never showed me a paper or told me why I was involuntarily committed, but from a couple of hints when the police first pushed their way into our house (my husband told me I was fine and to leave)and from the fact that 3 squad cars sat outside our house for 2 hours, indicating that they canvassed my neighbors, it seems I was railroaded for:

    a) writing an email to some friends saying I was going to off myself that got in the hands of a bureaucrat at a college I'd worked for--coincidentally the bureaucrat I'd implied was incompetent a year before and

    b) two vicious bitch neighbors I'd been screaming at to stop waking me up at 4 in the morning with their dogs and or party noise

    For these "reasons," I was mugged by the police, psychologically raped by the police and a dimbulb functionary sent out by the county MH, and incarcerated for 24 hours. And "fined" $7200 on top of it, for my "overnight stay" on the floor of a locked ward and 3 meals I didn't eat because I'm a vegetarian.

    You bet I'm going to get even--I'm suing over Section 1983 violations (because I'd briefly seen a therapist after my brother died, I was considered mentally ill (!), plus malicious prosecution, failure of due process and perjury.

    As you can tell, I've spent my life speaking up, for others and for myself. They messed with the wrong woman.

    Kudos for your work and your blog.