The charge nurse on Marci Webber’s clinical unit at the Chicago Read plantation is Pat Pearce. A charge nurse, I am told, is just under the Nurse Manager on a clinical unit. That means she’s been around awhile and gets paid a lot. It also should mean she ought to know better than to assault a patient.
But even though Marci Webber is technically a “patient” and Pat Ratched Pearce is technically a nurse, the practical truth is that Marci is a slave and Pearce is an overseer. At Chicago Read plantation, Ratched Pearce reports to a plantation manager named Sobut (technically “medical director”), who probably reports to a plantation master named Corcoran. Many such organizational details will be understood better soon, after a dozen or so depositions in federal civil rights cases.
The psychiatric slave plantations in Illinois are very unproductive these days. Pandemic restrictions have eliminated regular “therapy” activities, so most plantation employees come to work every day just to sit around and pretend to be doing paperwork. That demoralizes them. It’s another lie in addition to the basic one, namely that they are actually “helping” anyone. The “patients” are basically locked down with nothing to do except watch TV and take their drugs. Everybody is more on edge than ever.
Marci Webber, being herself and believing herself to be a target of constant abuse organized by the plantation managers and masters, became annoyed with charge nurse Ratched yesterday. When Ratched changed the TV channel without even asking, Marci unplugged the TV in response. This resulted in unpleasant words. Ratched said she was going to get Marci a shot. She then went to the nurse’s station, apparently to carry out her threat.
What that meant was, Ratched would call security personnel to come to the unit to hold Marci down and forcibly inject her with a psychiatric drug that she hates, purely as punishment. This has happened before.
It would be pure punishment, because Marci was not threatening to harm herself or anyone else by unplugging the TV and acting a bit annoyed. Forced drugging is only legal when the person who is held down and forcibly injected must be controlled for the safety of herself or others. It also must be ordered by an MD psychiatrist who is consulted about the behavior which constitutes a present time imminent threat of physical harm.
Usually the way this works is, some staff who wants a “patient” to get a shot (here, nurse Pat Ratched Pearce) calls the physician on call and reports all the scary, threatening things the “patient” is doing, or exaggerates these things sufficiently as necessary, to get the order.
Tellingly in this case, nurse Ratched Pearce didn’t call the physician on call. She called someone else, someone she knew would be more amenable than the physician on call to having Marci held down and forcibly drugged for unplugging the TV. Ratched called Chicago Read Medical Director Robert Sobut. Marci figures Sobut takes his orders from Master James Corcoran, and Master Corcoran wants Marci drugged to the gills forever. Actually Corcoran wants all psychiatric slaves drugged to the gills forever.
But here’s the thing....
Given the constitutional right to refuse drugs which can only be overridden if somebody is posing an imminent threat, Nurse Ratched Pearce’s statement that she would get Marci a forced shot when there clearly was no imminent threat, plus her apparent action of moving to carry out her threat, constitutes assault under Illinois law.
We don’t know whether plantation manager Robert Sobut or plantation master James Corcoran conspired to commit assault. Again, many depositions will be happening soon.