Saturday, November 21, 2009

Despicable coercion

State psychiatry has the purpose of restraining and disabling individuals who behave badly. It does not have a purpose of helping people who are sick. Individuals are coerced to take drugs which disable them neurologically. One of the methods of coercion lies in filing petitions for involuntary (court-ordered) "treatment" when anyone exercises their right to refuse medication. Most often, these petitions are not viable in the face of any competent legal defense. They are filed anyway, in the hope that the individual will not be defended competently, and will simply knuckle under and agree to take medication "voluntarily".

Following is a letter sent to a treatment team yesterday, after just such a cynical, fraudulent, coercive and illegal petition was dismissed the moment I arrived to enter my appearance in court for the defense. I'm removing the names to stay out of trouble, but I might add them back in some time later. State psychiatry needs to be resisted and challenged at every opportunity.


November 20, 2009

Ms. X (Social Worker)
Dr. Y (Psychiatrist)
Elgin Mental Health Center
750 S. State St.
Elgin, IL 60123

Re: Patient Z abuse

Dear Ms. X and Dr. Y:

I appeared as legal counsel for your patient Z today in Mental Health Court. I have told Z that I will be his advocate with the treatment team and EMHC, if he needs or wants me to, in the future.

I'd like to make as strong a point as I can, very early in any such relationship, that I consider the recent petition for involuntary administration of psychotropic medication (court docket #xxx) to have been in bad faith, a violation of the Mental Health Code, and perhaps a criminal act.

Reportedly you, Dr. Y, stated that someone else required you to file this petition. But as you must know, statutory requirements were unmet. For one easy example among several, on page 4 the petition required you to state specific reasons why, and the manner in which, benefits of the treatment you intended to force on patient Z would outweigh the harm. Your only statement was, "The benefits outweigh the risks."

This was a transparent tautology of course, certainly not medicine, perhaps not even psychiatry. It now becomes evidence of an illegal act. The Mental Health Code prohibits threats of involuntary treatment merely to coerce a patient to accept treatment "voluntarily". The law also explicitly defines known falsehoods in any petition as criminal.

No matter who ordered this petition filed (I certainly have several suspects), the signature which appears at the bottom still says Dr. Y, M.D. And frankly, Ms. X does not go unnoticed as case manager. I'm sure there are EMHC or DHS administrators for whom it may seem very easy and convenient, to just order blanks filled in on a computerized involuntary petition whenever a recipient of services refuses meds. But your patients know the difference between a mean threat and honest help; and I will not fail to investigate and expose the kind of abuse that I see here. If treatment team members are the only visible targets, they will be regarded as perpetrators, I promise you.

Unless patient Z actually behaves in some manner which could justify his being held down by half a dozen guards while you force a needle into his body and inject powerful drugs to alter his mind and personality and dehumanize him, I strongly suggest that you never file a petition like this again.

Actually, I suggest that you apologize to him, officially and in writing, for the petition which was dismissed so instantly today. (You need not apologize to me for my time, because you have created valuable evidence in exchange for that.)

Very truly yours,

S. Randolph Kretchmar

cc: Patient Z
Dr. Q, M.D.
DHS Counsel
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International

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