Lawsuit Filed Against Massachusetts State Hospital


Lawyers for three patients have filed a class-action lawsuit against Massachusetts’ Bridgewater State Hospital, according to the Boston Globe, arguing that more than half of the patients there are wrongly held in “harsh conditions of confinement” though they are not serving criminal sentences. The lawsuit follows the events leading up to the 2009 death of Joshua Messier, a 23-year-old mental health patient who died while guards were strapping his wrists and ankles to a small bed.

Lawsuit hits methods at Bridgewater State Hospital (Boston Globe)

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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].


  1. Perfect examples of people “dying with their rights off.” Inhumane incarceration and abuse of people diagnosed as mentally ill is absolutely not a thing of the past. It is prolific. It is happening right now, today, at an institution near you. Legislators need to focus on fixing THIS, the fact that people are being incarcerated and abused until they die!

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  2. People who have never experienced the system live in an illusion that psychiatry’s problems were fixed with the abolishing of lobotomy and the asylums. Anyone who has some personal experience knows it’s bs.

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    • You are so correct. Until I got myself tangled up in this terrible system I blindly thought that psychiatrists did talk therapy and that everything was just hunky dory wonderful. NOT! The very first appointment that I ever had with a psychiatrist cured me of my delusional thinking very quickly!

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  3. There are always an abundance of cruel and savage people willing to play these immoral games for the oligarchs. Behind all this there is always money and more money. Things never change. Technology makes the world look deceptively different but at its root it is the ever same place.

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  4. From the article “as doctors tried in vain to find a combination of drugs that worked.” The doctors feel compelled to give drugs, when they should do nothing . If a person is acting insane it is reasonable to control/limit their actions in a hospital-jail, but to apply drugs for a chemical balance that does not exist is wrong. The drugs make a confused person even more confused (in the long run) as Robert Whitaker has written and real psychiatrists know.

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