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Man Fights Forced Electroshock; Would Rather Have Full Bottle In Front of Him

From Minnesota Public Radio:

A Minnesota man undergoing electro-convulsive therapy goes before a judge in St. Paul on Tuesday to try to stop the court-ordered procedure. Ray Sandford says he’s losing his memory after having more than 30 treatments so far. His doctors have argued that the procedure is necessary to treat Sandford’s psychotic episodes.

The courts have determined that Ray isn’t competent to make decisions regarding his own welfare….

[His] condition [is] described in court records as schizo-affective disorder with bipolar tendencies.

There are no good numbers on how many people receive forced ECT in the U.S. It’s up to states to track these cases and most, like Minnesota, do not.



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The MPR story includes the opinions of multiple lawyers and advocates, on the topic of forced medical treatment.

“Sometimes people say you should use the perspective of a reasonable person,” said [Dean of William Mitchell College of Law Eric] Janus. “And it’s assumed that a reasonable person wants to protect him or herself against a relapse of a terrible mental illness.”

Still the “reasonable person” test doesn’t make sense to everyone, including even himself, Janus says.

Janus says even greater weight should be given to what the patient wants — even if it appears their illness might be clouding their judgment. Competent or not, not everyone wants to be treated when they’re sick, he says.

“That’s really what the court should be asking,” said Janus. “What are this person’s values? What does he want? What kind of life does he want to live? And it should be trying to make the decision in his behalf.”

Link to Minnesota Public Radio.

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Posted by on December 15, 2008. Filed under Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry