suemypsychiatrist

Archive for the ‘ECT’ Category

Psychiatrist Charles D. Morgan referred patient for electroshock then engaged in sexual contact afterward; loses license

In ECT, Electroshock, psychiatry, sexual exploitation, shock therapy on February 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm

On January 19, 2011, the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board accepted the surrender of psychiatrist Charles D. Morgan’s license to practice medicine for unprofessional conduct.

According the Board’s Order, Morgan provided treatment to a female patient for approximately two years, ending in late June 2008.  Approximately one week earlier, Morgan admitted the patient to the behavioral health unit of Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for electroconvulsive therapy (“electroshock”) and while she was hospitalized, Morgan kissed her romantically.

Following her discharge a week later, Morgan told the patient he wanted to talk with her at his office, which was also in the Medical Center.  While she was in his office, he engaged in sexual contact with her “which resulted in his orgasm,” according to the Order.

Morgan left a message on the patient’s cell phone the next day that what had occurred in his office needed to stay confidential or he could lose his license.

The patient reported the incident to her counselor and Oshkosh Police.

While she was in his office, he engaged in sexual contact with her “which resulted in his orgasm,” according to the Order.

In his interview with police, Morgan stated that the patient was “the aggressor and a predator.  She came on to him and wanted him to have sexual contact with her and he finally gave in.”  The police investigation resulted in charges of Sexual Exploitation by a Therapist, of which Morgan was convicted in Winnebago County Circuit Court on December 18, 2008.  He was sentenced March 19, 2009 to six years probation and nine months jail time.

Other terms of his sentence included prohibition against practicing psychology or psychiatry or counseling people in vulnerable positions or employment that would permit him to have authority over vulnerable people.  He must also register as a sex offender.

Source: Final Decision and Order LS 0808206 MED, in the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against Charles D. Morgan, M.D., Division of Enforcement Case # 08 MED 207, State of Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.

Story used with permission of Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.

Milestone case: Hospital ordered to cease shocking patients

In ECT, Electroshock, mental health, psychiatric abuse on October 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Atze Akkerman was a devoted husband, father and professional musician who, after receiving electroshock (shock treatment) could no longer remember his wife of 20 years, his children, or how to play music. In the five years since receiving the brutal treatment, his memory has not returned.

Akkerman and his wife filed suit against Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Johnson, who performed the shock, claiming they were negligent and had deceived Mr. Akkerman by withholding from him the dangers of the treatment and misrepresenting that it was “safe and effective.”

In January 2005, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Denise deBellefeuille agreed. The judge ruled that a psychiatrist and a psychiatric hospital deceived its patients by failing to tell them that electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT) – better known as shock treatment – causes irreversible memory loss, and prohibited the hospital from giving shock treatments. The court ordered that the hospital must “immediately cease providing ECT to patients, and advise its attending physicians that the hospital has lost the right to perform such treatment.”

“No one who knew what they were getting into would ever agree to this damaging treatment. It destroys memory, and creates chaos in the lives of the patients who are betrayed, ” said one expert.

The court also ruled psychiatrist Joseph Johnson had violated the California consumer fraud statutes. Johnson (who has performed shock treatment for over 20 years), admitted that neither he nor anyone else understands how shock treatment works, and that the consent form Johnson provided to patients was “decidedly misleading in a critical regard,” concerning the permanency of memory loss.

The Akkerman’s attorney, Kendrick Moxon stated, “The psychiatrist who shocked Mr. Akkerman simply betrayed a patient who came to him for help. He admitted that the so-called treatment couldn’t cure anything. Why is shock treatment still being done at all? Because the psychiatric community is lying to the patients that come to it for help.”

Moxon says that psychiatrists minimize the seriousness of the memory loss and other dangerous side effects of this barbaric treatment, and essentially dupe their patients into consent.

Expert witnesses who testified during the 6-week trial, said shock treatment is well known to cause permanent, irreversible memory loss. “No one who knew what they were getting into would ever agree to this damaging treatment. It destroys memory, and creates chaos in the lives of the patients who are betrayed, ” said one expert.

The Court noted that Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital argued that it was the psychiatrist’s responsibility to provide informed consent to the patient. The court disagreed, finding the argument “disingenuous” because the hospital and psychiatrist work in concert. The Court stated, “Here the hospital undertook a duty and cannot pass the buck.”

Contrary to psychiatrists’ assertions that shock treatment is “safe and effective” patients who have had the treatment tell a different story–if they can remember it. Many patients report loss of huge volumes of their memories, their childhood, even their own children. Patients often report of 5, 10, and 20 years of memory being wiped out.

Moxon asserts, “Psychiatrists pretend shock treatment is no longer like the violent bone breaking practice of the past, as portrayed in enduring images of “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.” They are lying. There is no difference in what happens to the brain during shock treatment in 1954 or 2004. The violence exerted on the brain is exactly the same.”

In fact, the result to patients is identical. Like Akkerman, another more notable figure suffered the same loss, the ability to execute his art. In 1961, after receiving shock treatments, Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway noted, “What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure, but we lost the patient.” No longer able to write, Hemingway committed suicide.

Akkerman chose to fight back, and turn his ordeal into a crusade. “I am hopeful that this case may serve to help others,” he says, “I was lied to, and I know I am not the only one.”

Kendrick Moxon is a Los Angeles attorney and also a legal advisor to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, and international psychiatric watchdog established the by the Church of Scientology to investigate expose and eradicate psychiatric violations of human rights.

Story used with permission of Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.

A case worth noting: First-ever jury verdict for survivor of electroshock “treatment”

In ECT, Electroshock on October 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm

In June 2005, a South Carolina woman became the first survivor of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, shock treatment) to win a jury verdict and a large money judgment in compensation for extensive permanent amnesia and cognitive disability caused by the procedure.

Peggy S. Salters, 60, sued Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina as well as the three doctors responsible for her care. As the result of an intensive course of outpatient ECT in 2000, she lost all memories of the past 30 years of her life, including all memories of her husband of three decades, now deceased, and the births of her three children. Ms. Salters held a Masters of Science in nursing and had a long career as a nurse, but lost her knowledge of nursing skills and was unable to return to work after ECT.

The jury awarded her $635,177 in compensation for her inability to work. The malpractice verdict was against the referring doctor, Atlanta psychiatrist Eric Lewkowiez. The jury could not return a verdict against the other two doctors because of one holdout vote for acquittal. The hospital settled its liability for an undisclosed sum early in the trial.

Former patients have reported devastating, permanent amnesia and cognitive impairment since ECT was first invented in 1938, but that has not hindered the treatment’s popularity with doctors. The first lawsuit for ECT amnesia, Marilyn Rice v. John Nardini, was brought exactly thirty years ago, and dozens of suits have followed. While there have been a few settlements, including one for half a million dollars, no former patient had won a case until June 2005.

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who served as Ms. Salters’ expert witness, was also the expert in Rice v. Nardini, and has appeared for plaintiffs many times over the past three decades without success. Psychologist Mary E. Shea presented extensive neuropsychological testing proving to the jury’s satisfaction that Ms. Salters suffers dementia due to ECT brain damage.

Expert for the defense was Charles Kellner of New Jersey, formerly of the Medical University of South Carolina. He testified that giving Ms. Salters’ 13 shocks in 19 days, instead of 26 days as is usual, was not a violation of the American Psychiatric Association guidelines. However, his assertions that Ms. Salters’ severe suicidality justified the controversial treatment could not be substantiated by the medical records. 82-year-old Max Fink of New York, widely regarded as the “grandfather of shock” and the author of many books and articles on ECT, was scheduled to testify for the defense, but in the end only watched the trial from the courtroom. The defense did not call him as a witness due to incriminating statements made under oath at his deposition.

For the past three decades, defense attorneys have won case after case by the same strategy: browbeating the jury with the plaintiff’s psychiatric history, playing upon the prevailing cultural notions that mental patients are incapable of telling the truth and doctors don’t lie; even claiming that mental illness causes amnesia and brain damage. Even neurological testing showing brain damage has been brushed aside. Peggy Salters’  case is the first in which a former ECT patient has been believed. She says she sees it as a victory for all ECT survivors.

Additional information:

Case   03CP4004797
Richland County, South Carolina

Peggy S. Salters vs. Palmetto Health Alliance, Inc., d/b/a Palmetto Baptist Medical Center; Robt. Schnackenberg, M.D., Individually, Eric Lewkowiez, M.D., Individually, Columbia Psychiatric Associates, P.A.; and Kenneth Huggins, M.D., Individually

Filed October 03, 2003
Decided June 17, 2005

Electroshock lawsuit: First-ever verdict in favor of plaintiff, patient awarded $635,177

In ECT, Electroshock, mental health, psychiatric abuse, psychiatry, shock therapy on June 17, 2005 at 3:26 am

A South Carolina woman has become the first survivor of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, shock treatment) to win a jury verdict and a large money judgment in compensation for extensive permanent amnesia and cognitive disability caused by the procedure.

Peggy S. Salters, 60, sued Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, as well as the three doctors responsible for her care. As the result of an intensive course of outpatient ECT in 2000, she lost all memories of the past 30 years of her life, including all memories of her husband of three decades, now deceased, and the births of her three children. Ms. Salters held a Masters of Science in nursing and had a long career as a psychiatric nurse, but lost her knowledge of nursing skills and was unable to return to work after ECT.

The jury awarded her $635,177 in compensation for her inability to work. The malpractice verdict was against the referring doctor, Eric Lewkowiez. The jury could not return a verdict against the other two doctors because of one holdout vote for acquittal. The hospital settled its liability for an undisclosed sum early in the trial.

Former patients have reported devastating, permanent amnesia and cognitive impairment since ECT was first invented in 1938, but that has not hindered the treatment’s popularity with doctors. The first lawsuit for ECT amnesia, Marilyn Rice v. John Nardini, was brought exactly thirty years ago, and dozens of suits have followed. While there have been a few settlements, including one for half a million dollars, no former patient has won a case until now.

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin, who served as Ms. Salters’ expert witness, was also the expert in Rice v. Nardini, and has appeared for plaintiffs many times over the past three decades without success. Psychologist Mary E. Shea presented extensive neuropsychological testing proving to the jury’s satisfaction that Ms. Salters suffers dementia due to ECT brain damage.

Expert for the defense was Charles Kellner of New Jersey, formerly of the Medical University of South Carolina. He testified that giving Ms. Salters’ 13 shocks in 19 days, instead of 26 days as is usual, was not a violation of the American Psychiatric Association guidelines. However, his assertions that Ms. Salters’ severe suicidality justified the controversial treatment could not be substantiated by the medical records. 82-year-old Max Fink of New York, widely regarded as the “grandfather of shock” and the author of many books and articles on ECT, was scheduled to testify for the defense, but in the end only watched the trial from the courtroom. The defense did not call him as a witness due to incriminating statements made under oath at his deposition.

For the past three decades, defense attorneys have won case after case by the same strategy: browbeating the jury with the plaintiff’s psychiatric history, playing upon the prevailing cultural notions that mental patients are incapable of telling the truth and doctors don’t lie; even claiming that mental illness causes amnesia and brain damage. Even neurological testing showing brain damage has been brushed aside. Peggy Salters’  case is the first in which a former ECT patient has been believed. She says she sees it as a victory for all ECT survivors.

Attorney for Ms. Salters, Mark Hardee, can be reached at (803) 799-0905. Peggy Salters can be reached at (803) Fink’s deposition is available from either of them.

736-4444. Additional information:

Case   03CP4004797
Richland County, South Carolina

Peggy S. Salters vs. Palmetto Health Alliance, Inc., d/b/a Palmetto Baptist Medical Center; Robt. Schnackenberg, M.D., Individually, Eric Lewkowiez, M.D., Individually, Columbia Psychiatric Associates, P.A.; and Kenneth Huggins, M.D., Individually

Filed October 03, 2003
Decided June 17, 2005