Bereaved Mother, Involuntarily Hospitalized, Testifies in VT

Kermit Cole
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Christina Schumacher, held in a psychiatric hospital for 5 1/2 weeks following learning that her estranged husband had murdered her son and then committed suicide, testifies to the Vermont legislature on the issue of involuntary hospitalization.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. This case (and others like it) needs to be in criminal court. And those who imprisoned her need to be charged with kidnapping charges. Yes, I’m serious.

    On the civil court side, this woman should sue big-time… and take away the homes and life savings of those involved in the kidnapping. Yes, I’m serious

    And if more people did the same, and the courts did their jobs, this stuff would come to an end.

    Another wake-up call to psychiatrists: Incarcerating someone without due process is kidnapping.

    Duane

    • I guess she just lost her 2nd amendment rights.
      We can’t have someone with a history of “involuntary hospitalization” put in the position of having to protect themselves.

      Obama’s recent executive order: no guns for those being forcefully medicated in their own homes, for their own good.

      Who’s next

      Duane

    • That was a shocking story. I am searching the world for a story similar to mine. I had been “gas lighted” by my ex husband but no psychiatrist or psychologist could ever find a thing wrong with me (yes I had reactive effect of depression, anxiety due to events but no mood disorder). It would take all day to explain but when I found a case against my ex husband in a Supreme Court in Australia and I was also suing in a civil court I found myself carted off and made an involuntary patient and drugged (I would have destroyed the final hearing). This was in 2005. Only recently have I looked at the files and found a psych registrar had made up pages of fake notes and visit to me and other forgeries I allege. My life has been almost ruined due to this drugging as I then became the criminal and got a conviction basically for reacting when he stalked me.I know 100 percent my own lawyer and the doctor were involved in this and produced a massive document and it is with the police now and a medical board. I was fine when I went to hospital and so pleased with the evidence I found (which I did as I was socially seeing a barrister and this was another reason to shut me up).A LOT of money would have been paid out.

  2. Watching this made me cry. I know it must have been hell for her. I had experienced problems with depression because of unresolved abuse issues in childhood and horrible abusive relationships in adulthood. Sometimes I would voluntarily go in`house because I did not know what else to do. I will never voluntarily go for treatment ever again because of an involuntary experience in 2006. I had been given a class of medication that I should never have been prescribed in the first place because I am sensitive to Benzodiazepines. I would now even say “allergic.” My husband and I were arguing. He frightened me and I called the police. All it took was for hubby to mention to them that I was a “patient” of Dr. so-and-so and I was hoisted off to the ER. I might add that I had pending complaints against a few doctors at that very same ER. They tied me to a table and proceeded to inject me with medication because I tried to leave the hospital. I was not combative, I simply did not feel safe at a hospital with doctors I’d been writing letters to the State Board about. They would not let me up to even use the bathroom. They inserted a catheter instead. I had not committed any crime and was not combative other than not wanting to be treated there. Here was a domestic situation and I made the mistake of calling the police because I felt afraid. I was drugged at the ER, given a tetanus shot that I did not need, and delivered to the local mental health facility. While in the facility no one took note of the fact that I had listed previous adverse reactions/allergies to benzodiazepines on the intake chart and in my file. Or they simply did not want to make waves with the doctor who prescribed them who was in a supervisory position over the other psychiatrists. Perhaps I did need to be hospitalized because of confusion I was experiencing–BUT, [no one addressed the problem of the benzos] and they were continued along with anti-psychotic medication and blood pressure medication even though I had been taken off blood pressure meds after finding out I actually suffered from “white coat syndrome.” I knew if I did not take these drugs while there, I possibly would not be released any time soon. I had been experiencing depression because of grief after personal losses (including the loss of my father which I hadn’t yet come to terms with). This experience of “involuntary hospitalization” altered my thinking about our mental health system. The administering psychiatrist also forced me to appear before a probate judge, even after I told him I would sign the voluntary papers (initially, I refused because I did not want to be there.) I believe being forced to appear before a judge was a violation of my civil liberties. I had never been forced to have psychiatric treatment before in my life. I eventually weaned myself off the addictive medications, and I will not participate willingly in our mental health system as it currently is ever again. Nor will I ever again recommend it.

    • The ‘weaponising’ of police and mental health services during domestic disputes is fairly common knowledge. There are even videos on you tube on how to fabricate evidence to have your husband thrown out of the home by police, by a well known private investigator called John Nazarian.

      There is also information available for family members of mentally ill persons on how to have them detained using very similar methods, ie tipping up furniture.

      I find the distribution of this sort of material offensive personally, but that’s free speech for you.

      You appear to have fallen victim to such a situation where the sharing of your medical history by your husband has resulted in them acting in a manner that suited his purposes.

      I empathise with you, and know personally of the trauma one suffers as a result of this type of situation.

  3. Involuntary hospitalization or commitment is a violation of civil rights under U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 21 § 1983, Civil action for deprivation of rights. Lawsuits for involuntary commitment have resulted in verdicts of $1 million or more against hospitals, doctors and other agencies and personnel:

    Lund vs. Northwest Medical Center, (Case No. Civ. 1805-95, Court of Common Pleas, Venango County, PA, June 16, 2003), jury awarded $1,100,000 million in damages.

    Marion vs. LaFargue Case No. 00 Civ. 0840, 2004 WL 330239, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, February 23, 2004), jury verdict of $1,000,001 in damages.

    Dick vs. Watonwan County (Case No. Civ. 4-82-1.16, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, April 11, 1983), more than $1 million in damages awarded to plaintiff.

    Involuntary psychiatric drugging is a violation of my human rights.

    The way I see it getting locked up by psychiatry is a violation of civil rights, being forced to take those brain disabling ‘meds’ (drug rape) is a violation of human rights. I use the word rape cause its the only word to describe forcing unwanted things into a persons body against there will in the English language.

    It feels like a rape to have unwanted brain disabling drugs that disrupt your mind-thinking and body function such as heart rate and motor control coerced or forced into your body.

    It is a RAPE, period.

    As this story points out these drug rapes are done to almost everyone subjected to inpatient psychiatry. Psychiatry will try and paint a picture with words that its drug rapes are done done to only people with the undefined term ‘severe mental illness’ but everyone who is unlucky enough to be inpatient has ‘severe mental illness’ according to them.

    I hope this woman sues and wins.

    • Hi copy cat, going by those figures that’s about 1 dollar for every case that doesn’t get to court.

      I don’t think the general public is aware of what is occurring with these detentions by mental health ‘professionals’, and how the use of corrupt practices is resulting in these sorts of cases.

      Of course civil action is expensive and so we only ever see the tip of the iceberg. The damage that is done with these pseudo rapes is blamed on the illness that the person has, even when they don’t. It should be noted the psychiatrists are fully aware of the trauma involved in these detentions, and the damage caused by them. There also aware of how easily the damage they do can be blamed on the victim.

      Of course any anger that the person may feel as a result of the violation of their civil rights is seen as illness, and reason to detain and drug.

      They burn you with a cigarette, and then use the resulting behaviour as evidence of illness. I feel sure you understand what I’m saying.

      I seriously hope that there are more criminal prosecutions for the widespread use of corrupt practices by the people, though i won’t hold my breath.

      Regards

      • “They burn you with a cigarette, and then use the resulting behaviour as evidence of illness. I feel sure you understand what I’m saying.”

        Ya, I kind of do. I had a nervous breakdown and drank myself sick for a week so I went to the E.R dehydrated shaky full of anxiety from alcohol withdrawal looking for help and was turned over to inpatient psychiatry for “treatment”. The following day I was starting to feel better until I was ordered to take Haldol , the maximum dose of Trileptal (oxcarbazepine) and 800! mg Seroquel .

        I am not a total dumb ass, I drank to much and screwed up but I knew to behave myself around psychiatry to avoid a drug order like that but it came to me anyway.

        What happened to me next is what happens to almost everyone who refuses to be medicated into zombie oblivion , threats of injection (violent drug rape).

        The injection threat was the “cigarette burn” in your analogy.

        My resulting behavior, was charted as “rapid speech” and used as evidence I needed the drugs and reason to extend my stay. My medical records state I was placed on “assault precautions” I find out later.

        I was never injected (drug raped) and continued to refuse that handful of pills and the staff harassment to take them, maybe they realized there are no assault precautions or panic buttons outside the hospital.

        That place was a nightmare beyond description, people yelling in the hall “I am going to sue this place” in the face of abuse and rights violations. That girl they assaulted at lunch for demanding a food item missing from her tray, I will never forget her terror screams during the assault as long as I live, and the staff knowing they could do what ever they wanted cause it’s virtually impossible to sue.

        It is corrupt, this was a UHS for profit hospital, I also got a bill for the most horrific experience of my entire life.

        • If there was video of that sadistic staff attack on that young girl, she would be the owner of that hospital. It was totally uncalled for, it was a demonstration of power to intimidate the other psychiatric inmates who were starting to challenge staff abuse.

          They had no problem attacking her or harassing me wile an obvious member of the bloods street gang walked around saying off the wall things unmedicated for 72 hours and was out the door. I guess staff didn’t want to meet his “homies” in the parking lot or have them show up at there house.

    • How does one find a lawyer, Copycat? I have tried, with no success. And that’s despite the fact the doctor who illegally (according to the court documents) held me, and “snowed” me, has now been arrested for doing the same thing (and worse) to many other patients, for profit:

      http://chicagoist.com/2013/04/16/chicago_hospital_owner_doctors_arre.php

      And why? Somewhat similar to Cory, I was shipped to V R Kuchipudi by unethical doctors at a hospital that was intentionally no longer covered by my new insurance plan, because I switched insurance groups due to prior malpractice by doctors who worked through that hospital. I was shipped unnecessarily to Kuchipudi by doctors who wanted to cover up a prior “bad fix” on a broken bone and a “Foul up” with subsequently wrongly given Risperdal.

      Doctors hold people against their will in hospitals, defame and “snow” patients, to cover up malpractice. It is appalling … and torture. And rape, I agree.

      • “How does one find a lawyer, Copycat? I have tried, with no success.”

        How to File a Lawsuit without an Attorney http://www.i-lawsuit.com/how-to-file-a-lawsuit-without-an-attorney

        http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+file+a+lawsuit+without+an+attorney

        I would like to see a do it yourself kit created specifically for inpatient abuses that people could download fill out and file with the courts.

        Here is something I just found wile looking up stuff to post on this subject,

        New Jersey Is Sued Over the Forced Medication of Patients at Psychiatric Hospitals

        “Phil Lubitz, associate director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New Jersey, said he did not see forced medication as a major issue”

        Of course “NAMI” does not see this is an issue because they are not patient “advocates” at all, unknown to most they are funded with millions from the pharmaceutical industry.

        In 2004, NAMI opposed the placement of “black box” warnings on antidepressants determined to cause suicide in under-18 year olds, and in 2006 opposed black box warnings on ADHD drugs causing heart attack, stroke and sudden death in children in 2006. Despite overwhelming evidence of serious adverse cardiac events and sudden deaths caused by ADHD drugs, in 2006 NAMI took the position that the “black box” warning on ADHD drugs was “premature.”

        The pharmaceutical companies donate 10s of millions to NAMI. For its part, NAMI promotes the increased use of psychotropic drugs, and even lobbies for laws allowing mental patients to be forced to take drugs. The drugs most often prescribed for involuntary patients — Janssen’s Risperdal (risperidone) and Lilly’s Zyprexa (olanzapine) — cause debilitating, indeed, lethal effects. NAMI’s failure to inform its constituents about the danger these drugs pose for patients, and its continued aggressive promotion of these drugs despite the evidence is confirmation that NAMI is an extension of the pharmaceutical industries marketing department.

        —-

        NAMI, how dishonest can they get ? Calling themselves patient “advocates” wile funded by and doing everything in there power to protect the pharmaceutical industry and abusive hosptals.

        Vladimir Lenin is reported to have said “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

  4. “Records: Father attacked son months before killing teen in Essex”

    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20131227/NEWS02/312270041/

    Reading that makes me even more angry. Even if she had some (so called) “mental health issues”, I feel this would be a normal reaction to the violent and traumatic experiences she had. Everyone should have the right to go through (so called) “mental health issues” without being hospitalized and drugged.

  5. “On January 22, 2014, after three hours of testimony before a Superior Court judge in Burlington, the judge said he disagreed with Christina’s mental illness diagnosis and the assessment that she was a danger to herself and others. The judge ordered her release after five and a half weeks in the psychiatric ward.”

    Most readers have no idea how unusual and remarkable this is! First of all, it was only due to this woman’s going outside the system, directly to the press, that this type of court hearing took place. Otherwise, if she got any kind of hearing it would have been a closed “kangaroo court” in which the cards would have been completely stacked in favor of the hospital (these kind of hearings have a track record of supporting the hospital’s position about 95% of the time). I congratulate the judge involved, who apparently relied on his own common sense and had the courage to forgo the requirement for “expert witnesses” to contest the hospital’s psychiatrist and lawyers. Believe me, I’ve been there (as parent of a patient who had deteriorated under their form of “treatment”) and a person without very substantial means is ENTIRELY at the mercy of the hospital’s demigods!