Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Quick Correction

A client whom I have represented at Elgin Mental Health Center ("Louanne") for several years is often told by her so-called "treatment team" (AKA tormenters) that I will only represent her until her money runs out, that I will run in the other direction when that day comes, that I am using her and that she is to be pitied because of that, that I don't have her best interests at heart, etc., etc., etc..

Well... I wish Louanne had any money. I actually don't think she has ever paid me a dime, although she may have offered to do so, in some small amount, at one time or another. I've always figured that if I'm ever to be personally compensated for the work I do, the payment will have to come from the state when I win some big case against them.

As I stated when I first started this blog some years ago, I became an attorney late in life in order to advocate for the universal human right to refuse psychiatry. Since that time, it has occasionally occurred to me that maybe I should get paid by clients. But given the nature of the work, that rarely happens. I'll have to permanently scavenge off the enemy's land, like Uncle Billy Sherman learned how to do, in his greatest innovation of military strategy.

To be misunderstood by the other side is an advantage in a conflict. But to achieve purposes without expensive battle it is necessary to change minds on the other side, and that is the only necessity. Changing minds requires communication, which is always disrupted to some degree by misunderstanding.

I will represent Louanne until her right to refuse psychiatry is secure and unquestioned. I don't give a shit about her money. She knows that pretty well. Her tormenters should know it, too.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Coercion tales

(This article will name some names at Elgin Mental Health Center, an Illinois state-operated forensic psychiatric "hospital" that the taxpayers are told helps people recover from mental illness. The named individuals do not contribute to any environment that could be considered, even remotely, therapeutic.)


Several years ago a patient wrote a letter to Lee Saunders, national President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union whose Council 31 represents non-administrative staff at Elgin Mental Health Center. The letter complained about a union chief named Marva Stroud, AKA, Marvelous Marva. Marva had been tormenting the patient who wrote the letter, possibly out of racial animus, possibly at the instruction of Elgin administrators or psychiatrists wanting that patient to have a particularly difficult time, so she could be forced to take medication that she had been exercising her statutory and Constitutional rights to refuse.

The union and the administration at Elgin are extremely tight. Jeff Pharis, the Forensic Coordinator, tends to promote union employees who get sued by patients for acting like gangsters. The obvious explanation for this, from Pharis' point of view, is to keep people happy and to discourage them from following their consciences and becoming whistleblowers when they may have regrets about acting like gangsters.

The actual gangster behavior (e.g., beating up patients, lying under oath, writing falsehoods in so-called medical records) probably isn't overtly encouraged by Pharis or the Elgin administration. The real hard-guys are much more likely to be union bosses like Marvelous Marva, and her entourage. But without the hard guys Elgin could be in a lot of trouble, because patients and their families would be far more likely to alert the taxpayers that the place doesn't help anyone recover, it just dehumanizes mentally ill people and turns them loose, back on the community with permanent grudges, seeking retribution. So Pharis looks the other way, and he makes sure he can credibly deny any personal participation in the gangster behavior.

The patient who wrote the letter to the AFSCME President years ago is a thorn in the side of Elgin, and has been for a long time. In 2014, on two occasions, she was given forced injections of crippling psychotropic drugs, not because she was a danger to herself or anyone else (which is what the law requires), but merely because she wouldn't stop saying things that Marvelous Marva and her ilk didn't like. 

That same patient was more recently targeted for a beating from another patient, which actually sent her to the hospital. It's pretty easy to blame "psychotic" people for patient-on-patient violence and cover up the careful incitement of incidents by staff. This recent aggravated battery occurred under the noses of two Security Therapy Aides, Lilly Schillenbeck and Kerji Francis, who took... just... long... enough... to intervene, to ensure an effective punishment. And of course, Lilly and Kerji are both well known to be Marvelous Marva's particular stooges.

Only a day later, the patient who had been hospitalized overheard a conversation in which a very agitated STA named Carmen Carter (one more Marva stooge) told a patient, B.S., "I'm sick of all the shit from T.M. (another patient). Go fuck her up!" Whereupon, patient B.S. entered the room where patient T.M. was, a physical fight ensued, and one or more of patients B.S. and T.M. emerged or were dragged out with visibly scratched arms, etc.

The personality of any group may decline from an inspired, motivated, creative and beneficent collaboration, through the quality of worsening bureaucracy, to a criminal organization. The pressure down that scale comes from undisclosed crimes by individual group members. Failing to help people is instinctively felt to be a crime by all social human beings. Given that forensic psychiatry and involuntary "treatment" are, almost by definition, one giant failure to help, the gangster flavor of Illinois mental health institutions may be unavoidable. Elgin is worse than a bureaucracy.

Of course, Lee Saunders never responded to the patient's letter. The public should know what it's getting, and what it's not, for so many millions in tax dollars. Maybe people like Lee, Jeff, Marva, Lilly, Kerji and Carmen should be summarily fired. Or prosecuted.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chart Note Rebuttal

Below is a rebuttal recently written by a patient at Elgin Mental Health Center, to correct a chart note by a Security Therapy Aide on March 1, 2016. This rebuttal illustrates the type of honest services fraud perpetrated by government employees in the forensic psychiatric system in Illinois.

Supposedly, a psychiatric chart is a "medical record" that doctors and courts can rely upon to evaluate the patient that it is written about. The truth is, anyone's psychiatric chart is full of nonsense and lies. But the "clinicians" who write psychiatric chart notes are not so stupid or incapable of observation that they just can't help putting inaccurate information in medical records.

Actually, the system is bent on control of "patients" -- not on helpful "treatment", not on community security, not on improved mental health. It is a system of slavery. The people who run it are plantation owners. Individuals like the STA who wrote the note complained of here, are overseers.



I am rebutting the aforementioned chart note authored by STA Mike C. There are a few problems with this chart note and the related loss of privileges ("LOP") I was placed on.

Firstly, the note says that this was a late entry. The incident occurred around 8:30am, but the note was not made until just before the author went home at 2:45pm. 

Initially, I was accused of "exchanging" food with another patient, JR. The internal write-up reflects this, as it was referenced in the March staffing report, which also says I "exchanged" food with another patient. However, after Mike C. informed me that I was placed on LOP for the incident, I explained to him that I had received no food, so "exchange" was inaccurate.

Indeed, that morning, the non-vegetarian trays (I am a vegetarian) included cake, sausage and grits. Clearly I would not have taken any sausage, being a vegetarian, nor would I have taken cake (there's no point in exchanging cake for cake). One can imagine that if I had taken grits, a semi-liquid substance, Mike C. would have witnessed a very obvious passing of the food from one tray to the other. But he did not witness any such thing. He apparently realized this only after he had accused me of "exchanging" and put me on LOP for it.

Mike C. then changed his story. When he wrote the chart note hours later, it said "giving" instead of "exchanging" apparently to account for why I did not receive anything from JR. I should point out this is a mild instance of fraud. I was put on LOP for "exchanging", but when the author realized that accusation was not as plausible as he initially thought, he decided to change his story in my official record.

The truth is that Mike C. did not see anything, save perhaps some movement out of the corner of his eye. Indeed, JR took a piece of cake off my tray. But "giving" would have to be an active action which would involve me handing him the cake, or at least presenting my tray to him in a manner for easy access so he could take it. None of this occurred.

When Mike C. saw what he imagined to be a violation of EMHC expectations and/or customs (these cannot be rules, as rules are written and have prescribed punishments when they're broken -- unwritten rules with no prescribed punishments are merely customs), he did not bother to do any kind of inquiry into what actually happened. He never asked me if I gave JR the cake in exchange for something, or if JR took my cake. This is important. Mike C. had all the authority to inquire, but chose instead to simply accuse me of something and put me on LOP without any sort of procedural due process. 

The RN on the unit (an RN signs off on all LOPs) also did not bother to inquire. This is problematic. Just the previous day, another patient was put on LOP for stealing food from another patient's tray, and an inquiry was conducted on the spot to determine exactly what had occurred. 

If one patient steals food or strong-arms it from another patient, should both patients be punished? If the patient from whom food is taken does not consent, but ultimately doesn't care and doesn't report the incident, should both patients be punished? It seems to me that since this is merely an expectation or custom, EMHC staff ought to be redirecting patients before summarily putting them on LOP in an affront to due process. Why not just tell the patient to give the cake back? If he refuses, then perhaps apply disciplinary action. 

EMHC has consistently ignored my complaints about the LOP system, and my requests to fix it. Staff act arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of any consideration for due process. The giant problem of the LOP system is not known to courts or independent examiners, so patients get framed as bad patients. In fact, the LOP system and non-standardized procedures create records to be used against patients in court. Why should patients have to bear a burden to prove false negative reports, which result from the bad LOP system?

Finally, I would like to point out that Program Director Jeff Pharis asked the Consumer Council to come up with a proposal to revise the LOP system, acknowledging that it needed to be fixed. I wrote an eight-page proposal for a brand new LOP system, highlighting all the numerous problems and solutions to them. All the patients on the Consumer Council support this proposal, which was submitted to Jeff Pharis in January, 2016. Two months later, Pharis has not even read it, let alone given any feedback.

Were we told to come up with this proposal just to make us think EMHC was finally ready to revise this problematic LOP system? I believe that the LOP I was handed on 3/1/16, violated my due process rights. It was an arbitrary action by Mike C.

(Patient S.)