Feral Psychiatry: The Case of Garth Daniels

Niall McLaren
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In a recent post to Mad in America, psychologist John Read outlined the astounding case of Garth Daniels, a 39-year-old Melbourne man who has spent fourteen of the past twenty years in mental hospitals. Melbourne is a city of some 4.5 million people (by comparison, Chicago is 2.7 million) which consistently scores at or very close to the top in the world for quality of life. It is generally regarded as a conservative place and, perhaps coincidentally, is the home of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), also a very conservative body. Victorians, in general, regard themselves as cultured, sophisticated and genteel, which makes the bizarre treatment meted out to Daniels seem even more outlandish.

Daniels has been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and has been prescribed every possible psychiatric drug, generally in large to heroic doses. He was regarded as uncontrollably dangerous and placed in seclusion but over the past few years, whenever he “shows aggression,” he has simply been shackled to his bed by his four limbs. During 2015, he was shackled for about 110 days in all including one continuous period of 69 days. Over the past seven months, he has also been given thrice-weekly ECT against his will.

Treatment has been ordered in regular series of twelve shocks, where each order issued by the Victorian Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) follows seamlessly when the existing order expires. So far, he has had 94 shocks at three per week, and Victorian Mental Health Services (VMHS) indicate this will continue indefinitely. He has been deemed incapable of giving consent to ECT because he refuses it, but also because he can’t remember why he needs it. His treating psychiatrists acknowledge that the reason he can’t remember is that he has received ECT. However, he is deemed capable of agreeing to take medication even though he often doesn’t remember what drugs he is taking.

In October 2015, his family approached me to provide a second opinion to submit to the MHRT. I spent an afternoon at the hospital, firstly interviewing him, then seeing him with his father before I spoke to the treating psychiatrist who provided me with access to his files. As his files now amount to something like 15,000 pages, I was only able to look over the most recent 1,500 pages, but it confirmed what I had suspected. I then spoke to the head of the department and finally went back to talk to Garth himself, the whole process taking nearly four hours.

Garth Daniels is a lightly built chap of mixed South African race (formerly known as ‘coloured’) who presents as bright, alert, aware and pleasantly, even obsequiously, cooperative. When I saw him, he showed absolutely no signs of mental disorder whatsoever. He is bright and at least of average, if not superior, intellect, but I have never found evidence he has been formally assessed. His personality is anxious, unassertive, socially insecure, and submissive. Oddly enough, the majority of his admissions were voluntary; he takes himself back to the hospital sometimes as little as a week after discharge.

I returned to Melbourne on January 4th this year and saw him again before putting a submission to the MHRT to the effect that ECT could not work and that he did not need to be in a secure unit. I argued that he could safely be treated in private, that his case could be understood in psychological terms, and that “more of the same” treatment (incarceration, shackling, drugs and ECT) was no more likely to be successful this year than it had been over the previous twenty years. My submission was built around formulating the generic case for compulsory treatment. Bizarrely, in the history of psychiatry, this has never been done. Of course, as soon as it is put in writing, its logical errors and fallacies are blindingly obvious (it will be published elsewhere). I also advised that if the current program continues indefinitely, Garth Daniels will surely die. The tribunal gave no weight to my evidence and pressed ahead with more ECT

Since giving this opinion to the family, they have decided that they must leave Victoria. In early March, I received a call from the professor who is head of the Eastern Health Region in Melbourne, who wanted to discuss with me arrangements to transfer Daniels to my care in Brisbane. After talking with him, I said I needed to review Daniels before making a final decision and went to Melbourne the next day. Again, I spoke to him, his father and everybody involved in his management and left the hospital that evening believing we had an agreement to begin making arrangements for his travel and accommodation (he has relatives in Brisbane). The next week, I responded in writing to further requests for details of his transfer and management (e.g. how he should travel, details of community placements in Brisbane, etc.). Unfortunately, despite the additional reports, this did not happen, and he has since been transferred to a secure unit where his family is severely restricted in their contact with him. The ECT is continuing.   

Why did the family choose me to provide a second opinion? They haven’t said, but my career and interests are readily available on the internet. I have practised psychiatry as a consultant for almost forty years, most of that time spent in the remote north of Australia as a solo practitioner.  For the rest, I have worked as the head of the department of psychiatry of a Veterans’ Affairs hospital, as the head of a general hospital unit of 29 beds, in military psychiatry, prisons, and private practice. I have very extensive experience working at the rough and isolated end of Psychiatry. My private practice is funded entirely by the national insurer, Medicare, so I see pensioners, unemployed people, students and young people who could otherwise not afford private fees (they pay nothing, but I get a reduced fee from the government). That means that I see patients who would otherwise have to see public mental health services. Having worked for decades in public service, I know exactly what sorts of patients are seen in public hospitals and mine are no different. Indeed, about half of them have left the public system for an alternative approach.

Also, I have published extensively in the area of the application of the philosophy of science to psychiatry and the field of psychiatric theorising generally. I am highly critical of modern psychiatry on the basis that it does not have a theory of mental disorder and is, therefore, non-scientific. For the record, I am strongly opposed to the position claimed by the late Thomas Szasz, that mental disorder doesn’t exist. It does. I have argued that he was just another academic making a comfortable living by blaming the victims [1].

In my forty years, I estimate I have personally treated well more than ten thousand cases, meaning they have seen me and me alone. At all times, I have been entirely responsible for the whole of their management. I have not used other staff nor been accountable to anybody but the Medical Board. I have also directly supervised several thousand more patients in hospitals, meaning at least fifteen thousand patients in all. Not one of them has ever received ECT. A series of fifteen thousand consecutive, unselected public patients managed without recourse to ECT constitutes a major test of that form of treatment.  

The RANZCP Position Statement on ECT (No. 74, March 2014) states at point 7.2: Pt. 7.2:

ECT remains a useful and essential treatment option that should be available to all patients in whom its use is clinically indicated.

This is often quoted in tribunal hearings as binding the hospital to use ECT, but this overlooks the fact that the Position Statement is nothing more than an opinion. Moreover, it is an opinion formulated by a group of psychiatrists who were convinced before they joined the committee that ECT is “useful and essential” and should be used. The committees that formulate RANZCP position statements are committees of the convinced and do not include critics. My lengthy experience shows that their opinion is empirically false. The official RANZCP publication (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry) refuses to publish my figures. It should not be overlooked, of course, that if ECT were discovered today, it would never be approved.

A mental health tribunal consists of three people, a lawyer, as chairperson, a psychiatrist and a layperson as “community member.” The process is that the hospital submits its application, the tribunal asks a few questions then it retires to discuss the matter before announcing its decision. Inevitably, the psychiatrists on the panels are all convinced ECT is necessary: they regard the RANZCP opinion as confirmed fact.

They are mostly retired government psychiatrists who were trained by people who believed ECT is essential; they were examined by psychiatrists who believed ECT is essential; they were appointed to their jobs by the same people; they used ECT, often extensively; they are generally long-term friends and socialise with one another and train the younger generation of government psychiatrists who are applying to use ECT. 

My experience of tribunals shows that the “evidence” to support the application consists of three points: He is depressed, and drug treatment hasn’t worked. Therefore, he must have ECT. I have never seen a tribunal where the government psychiatrists cite references etc. to show why it is necessary. Their applications are simply waved through.

On the other hand, any suggestion that ECT is not necessary is met by hostile questioning from the psychiatrist member of the panel. I am convinced that when the tribunal secretly considers its decision, the psychiatrist member actively introduces new evidence to counter the references and other evidence against the use of ECT. I know for a fact that one psychiatrist secretly dismissed my long experience as “anecdotal.”

The lawyers, of course, have never heard of the proposition that mental disorder may not be biological in nature and are simply unable to comprehend the notion that even psychotic people can be treated without incarceration, forced drugging, seclusion, restraint, and ECT. That is because they have been subjected to thirty years of relentless propagandising by mainstream psychiatrists, who are all the panels ever see. Very few patients can afford a psychiatrist for a second opinion, and quite often they don’t even attend the tribunal hearings because it is a waste of time. In my experience, they all believe the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Just to clarify my position, I never prescribe the group of drugs known as “mood stabilisers” (lithium, carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, etc.) and very rarely (once or twice a year) prescribe antidepressants. I never use antipsychotic drugs for a person who is not actively psychotic and then only for a short time. In particular, I do not use them for patients who would elsewhere be given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Very few of my patients are ever admitted to a hospital. I suspect these facts influenced the family to engage me to see their son. Since that first visit, I have been back to Melbourne twice and have spent a lot more time with him, but nothing has happened to change my view of his case.

My opinion is that he is not, and never has been, “schizophrenic.” At the age of 18, he suffered some brief psychotic episodes after heavy marijuana use which lead to him being detained and treated under an order. He has never been free of mental hospitals since. From time to time, usually when agitated over being restrained, he may accuse people of trying to hurt him or that they are conspiring against him, but he shows nothing that would constitute a convincing delusion (a fixed, false belief out of context with the patient’s social, cultural, educational and intellectual background) or a hallucinatory experience. He is well-dressed, neat and tidy, studiously polite and does not show any stereotyped or manneristic behaviour. He can conduct a perfectly sensible conversation and is never intrusive, overbearing or otherwise odd. When unshackled, he cares for himself normally and has regular leave from the hospital to walk around the streets.

The question of whether he is dangerous is important. He is currently being treated as the single most dangerous person in the history of the State of Victoria, if not in the entire history of this country. While in the hospital, he is normally kept on a closed ward but has recently been transferred to a long-stay secure unit. At some stage, he was detained in a forensic psychiatric unit for two years even though he has never broken the law. In twenty years, there have been only two episodes of aggression, one in which he assaulted a nurse who was trying to restrain him and once when he whacked his father who was pushing him. He has been assaulted a number of times in hospital over the years, including a fracture, but does not retaliate.

I need to impress that I am accustomed to dealing with aggressive patients. I have extensive experience of treating serving military personnel (at least one thousand patients over the past twenty years) and of veterans of every conflict this country has entered since 1916. I am also very familiar with dealing with acutely psychotic patients, including Aboriginal people in remote areas who lead semi-traditional lifestyles, e.g. many of them speak their own languages in their daily lives. Over the years, I have treated many murderers and rapists including men with significant records of violence. In my current office, with absolutely no security facilities whatsoever, I see veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are so paranoid that they insist on locking the office door behind them and then sit between me and the door so they can watch out the window. Believe me; I know aggression. Garth Daniels is not dangerous.

Bearing in mind that he has seen something of the order of four hundred psychiatrists over his long career as a mental patient, how could so many people be so totally wrong? The first point is that, as expected, his files reveal that not one of them has actually taken a history from this man. There were some very skimpy histories taken in the distant past but everybody since then has simply recorded “This well-known patient…”

Second, there is the “emperor’s new clothes” effect, where nobody is prepared to question the status quo. This is very powerful in psychiatry because the five-year training program (which is much more extensive and intensive than in the US and the UK) enforces compliance with the received view. It is directed almost entirely at turning out psychiatrists who are obedient to the party line endorsed and embraced by their “elders and betters.” Anybody who questions the professor won’t last long. As Chomsky noted in another context:

“…the people who make it through the institutions and are able to remain in them have already internalised the right kinds of beliefs: it’s not a problem for them to be obedient, they already are obedient, that’s how they got there [2].”

Third, when orthodox psychiatry looks at mental disorders, it sees brain diseases. Orthodox psychiatrists always want to be the first to come up with the most serious diagnosis; this has now reached the point where most psychiatrists are blind to the personality and neurotic disorders. I have argued [3] that modern psychiatry is actively engaged in a process of reassigning personality-disordered people to the category of psychotic disorders so that they can be treated with drugs. The illiberal use of powerful psychoactive drugs is producing the current epidemic of major mental disorder [4], particularly so-called bipolar disorder. That is, psychiatrists can’t tell when they are being manipulated, and they give drugs and then more drugs in a vain attempt to “cure” personality or neurotic disorders.

Finally, I now believe the Victorian MHS panicked when they realised the family was serious about moving. After having spent something like $10 million over the past twenty years only to wreck this man’s life, they could not take even one chance in a thousand that somebody else could achieve what they couldn’t. If they had let him come to Brisbane and he improved, they would be in serious trouble. Do I successfully treat patients diagnosed and dealt with as psychotic elsewhere, using non-intrusive methods with little or no reliance on drugs and ECT? Most emphatically, yes, that is exactly what I do. How come? Because in my decades in remote Australia, I had to learn to manage without all these modern labour-saving devices (meaning the labour of having to talk to patients and sort out their tangled lives). If I could get by without ECT in areas about as remote as Canada’s North-West Territories, then so too can all these clever professors in their luxury air-conditioned offices in the major cities. The reason they can’t get by without ECT is that they don’t want to: they are wedded to the procedure for ideological reasons [5].

A cynic might even suspect that Victorian MHS is hell-bent on giving Daniels so much ECT that he won’t be able to testify. Even if they aren’t, that will happen if they continue their present program.

I hope the information given here has allowed at least some readers to see the problem. Daniels is a very mild, submissive and socially anxious man who has hardly ever lived independently. These are personality factors, not “disease” factors. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that being doped to the eyeballs with psychiatric drugs and then strapped spread-eagle to his bed while undergoing ECT month after month can change personality. It is a measure of the scientific naivete of mainstream psychiatry that they could ever believe this. It is also a measure of their intellectual arrogance that they are unable to acknowledge their error.

References:

  1. McLaren N (2012). The Mind-Body Problem Explained: The Biocognitive Model for Psychiatry.  Ann Arbor, MI: Future Psychiatry Press (Chaps. 12-13)
  2. Chomsky N (2002). The Fate of an Honest Intellectual. Understanding Power. The New Press pp. 244-248
  3. McLaren N (2012). v.s. Chaps. 14-16.
  4. Whitaker, Robert (2009). Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. New York: Random House.
  5. McLaren N 2013 Psychiatry as Ideology. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 15: 7-18.

120 COMMENTS

  1. 69 consecutive days in restraints. If that’s not torture, I don’t know what is.

    And when you’ve been “treating” someone for 20 years with no improvement, it’s time to admit you don’t know what the f*&k you’re doing and graciously give way to someone with a different plan of action.

    Thanks for this thorough though stomach-churning report.

    —- Steve

      • Months ago I suggested the family take Garth and seek sanctuary in the church, Even if the church could, or would not, hold out, the spectacle of the police or CAT team dragging Garth from the protection of the church in front of press cameras wouldn’t look too good in the public’s eyes. John Read thought it was a good idea but nobody did anything. The problem too, is that there are extradition laws between states, Garth has had a skin full of drugs that cannot be stopped suddenly and there are few (other than Jock McLaren) with the guts to help out. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke

  2. It’s a long shot but as forced psychiatric intervention is slowly being recognized by the U.N. as torture, there may be a reasonable basis for international intervention by Amnesty International or the like. You should check material on this posted here by Tina Minkowitz regarding CRPD.

    he can’t remember why he needs it. His treating psychiatrists acknowledge that the reason he can’t remember is that he has received ECT. However, he is deemed capable of agreeing to take medication even though he often doesn’t remember what drugs he is taking.

    Yet another variation of Catch 22.

    For the record, I am strongly opposed to the position claimed by the late Thomas Szasz, that mental disorder doesn’t exist. It does. I have argued that he was just another academic making a comfortable living by blaming the victims

    Well, this statement detracts from your credibility as you obviously don’t understand Szasz, whom you should be learning from, not trying to compete with or take down. Your rebuttal (“it does”) is typical of the argumentation of “medical model” adherents.

    • I agree with the last assessment. The ego of the greedy one in all of us tends to trap us in the art of competition. Hopefully this doctors great work overshadows his need for attention.

      Great story! My heart and soul cries out to the spirit of the victim.

          • BTW, in the “Time” magazine obituary for Dr. Thomas Szasz, the ONLY person quoted in regards to Dr. Szasz’s lifes’ work, was E. Fuller Torrey. What a way to sully the memory of a great man….
            And, it looks like the FDA may be acting on “down-classifying” ELECTRO-CUTION TORTURE (“ECT”) soon….The local paper had a story about that issue last night – (Weds., 07/20/2016).
            Can somebody more computer literate here at MiA post a story/link to the FDA’s public comment section? One of my best friends was ECT’d years ago, and yes, I can detect subtle deficits in her overall brain function. She’s also over-drugged, but that’s standard procedure for the pseudoscience drug racket known as “biopsychiatry”…. To paraphrase Szasz, so-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as “real” as presents from Santa Claus. They are cultural artifacts, and cultural constructs – modern *MYTHS*…. Please correct me, if I’ve gotten that wrong. Thanks, “oldhead”! ~B./
            (ps: HAPPY THOR’S DAY, to you, too!….

    • Why is it that so many want to hold Szasz up as some kind of saint who can do no wrong? This man simply stated his disagreement with Szasz. I think Szasz was a great man who had a lot of things right, but he wasn’t right on everything and I disagree with a lot of things he believed. All gods have clay feet. Szasz isn’t the end all and be all of everything in the world of what is referred to as psychiatry.

      • Why is it that so many want to hold Szasz up as some kind of saint who can do no wrong? This man simply stated his disagreement with Szasz.

        No, after that he made disparaging remarks about Szasz’s character, which is primarily was I was responding too.

        Also, Uprising, I know what you mean but I’d have to examine it more thoroughly before I could agree about the “blaming the victim” characterization; in any case this has little or no bearing on his spot-on deconstruction of “mental illness” and the medical model.

        But I don’t want to divert this very important matter with another Szasz debate, so let’s all try to forget Mr. McClaren’s unfortunate remark and continue to help him brainstorm ways to confront this ongoing atrocity.

    • Here comes “oldhead” AGAIN! I’d be happier if he was more romantic, and less *SEMANTIC*. Whether one uses the word “disorder”, or “disease”, or “illness”, or whatever, and pairs it with “mental” – you get a useful, and deceptive, and possibly dishonest and deceptive but VALID English phrase. So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as REAL as presents from Santa Claus. When I was a child, I received many presents from Santa Claus, under our family Christmas tree. Therefore, presents from Santa Claus are REAL, just as so-called “mental illnesses”, or “mental disorders” are REAL. I see no need to engage in medical semantics with Dr. Niall McLaren, unlike “oldhead”. I read Szasz’s “Myth of Mental Illness” years ago, and yes, so-called “mental illnesses” ARE MYTHS, also. In light of the ELECTRO-CUTION TORTURE (“ECT) being inflicted on Mr. Garth Daniels, I can easily grant a little semantic and academic slack to Dr. Niall McLaren.
      —->”oldhead”, please CHECK YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE<—- Scroll down to the comment below, where I posted to scribd, the email reply I received from the Gov't of Australia, regarding their egregious HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS inflicted on Mr. Garth Daniels. While *I* am doing thus, "oldhead" insists on continuing to engage in pointless semantic arguments. Sometimes, some people do seem to do better on some drugs, for some usually short length of time. But that doesn't mean that so-called "mental illnesses" or "disorders" are any more REAL than presents from Santa Claus….
      (c)2016, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

  3. I agree with your assessment that they are absolutely terrified that Daniels will improve, even “recover” from their decades of abuse and that will cause their house of cards to disintegrate.

    My stomach churned and a tear escaped while reading this – that the State has such power to indefinitely detain and torture a citizen on the say so of psychiatrists whose “treatment” has shown no signs of having worked to date, when he has committed no crime, and when there is alternative treatment available is beyond words.

    Have you tried the TV stations? 7.30 Report? 4Corners? There really needs to be a serious an public investigation into Daniel’s ongoing torture.

    • Thank-you so much for asking that Q?, “Fiachra”…. Did 10,000,000 people each get a dollar, or did 10 people become millionaires? Or did dozens of people make a living off torturing Mr. Garth Daniels? Maybe we should re-incorporate Mr. Garth Daniels, as a “personal incorporation” under Citizens United? I could use a job working for a $10MILLION company…..

  4. In a country where a psychiatrist can call police and instruct them to not accept proof of criminal offenses by his wife, and the victim is the sent away to be ‘treated’ for the delusional belief that drugging a person with benzos without their knowledge is not criminal I am not surprised by this case at all.
    And the possibility of having anything done about criminal negligence by police (because failing to perform duty as a public officer is a criminal offense)? Seek professional help lol
    Carte blanche to maim and kill anyone who does not agree with what doctor thinks best.
    Good luck with assisting Mr Daniels.

    • In America, it’s different – there is *NO* law which *requires* any cop to do anything….
      Cops are *authorized*, *permitted*, and *allowed* to enforce laws, and do whatever they do, but they are NOT “required” to do anything – even enforce laws….
      THINK about THAT….

      • Wow seriously Bradford?

        Police here have a certain amount of discretionary powers but can not simply ‘green light’ any crimes at all. For example in the case of intoxication by deception (penalty 3 years prison) if as in my instance a Senior Constable is informed that a person has been drugged with benzos they have a duty to report that to their superiors., and can not simply ignore that matter. If however it was a small amount of cannabis they could as the penalty is minor.

        One famous case was that of Roger Rogerson who was ‘green lighting’ bank robberies by Neddy Smith. Simply ensuring that evidence etc was not collected.

        Are you saying that a junior constable in the US has the power to overlook crimes such as kidnapping, rape, murder? They do not have a duty to report to anyone if they chose not to? Total discretion over what they report and don’t? I can’t even begin to imagine how that could possibly work lol

        The Police Commissioner in the Northern Territory was recently sacked as a result of not performing his duty to report some irregularities in the accounts of a friend. (i’m loose on detail here but) Instead of doing his duty he misdirected the matters to civil proceedings.

        • “173. Public officer refusing to perform duty

          Any person who, being employed in the Public Service, or as an officer of any court or tribunal, perversely and without lawful excuse omits or refuses to do any act which it is his duty to do by virtue of his employment, is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.”

          There are other sections which relate to corruption by public officers, false evidence etc. And it is not unusual for the police watchdog to simply dismiss the officer and take no further action, but it is on the grounds of committing this offense that the charge of Misconduct would be proven.

          • Same rules apply to the Community Nurse in my instance. He had a duty to file an “Incident Report” over the drugging without knowledge. This was not done, and instead he made an agreement with the ‘spiker’ to conceal the evidence of a criminal offense (7 years). This combined with the fraudulent statutory declarations, deprivation of liberty, kidnapping and we are looking at a lot of time in prison. In fact given that the intent of the drugging was to deprive of liberty/kidnap this may be considered Stupefying to commit and indictable offense (20 years)

            It can be difficult to identify exactly what a persons duty is, and it is quite an easy out for police in particular to claim that matters are civil proceedings. Gets them out of a heap of work as the cost involved is particularly prohibitive, and unless you know the law….. forget it.

            Must be kept in mind that the C N was of the belief that I was going to be dribbling from the mouth before I got the chance to have lunch so he was away to do it to your brother or sister in the afternoon lol

        • Thanks, “boans”. Obviously, I’m condensing a very long, complicated legal narrative into a very short comment. But, yes, that’s basically how it is here. I’m no trained lawyer, but rather a VERY careful reader of legal briefs, and actual cases, etc. Cops, judges, prosecutors, etc., ALL have very wide latitude, protections, and legal immunity. It is VERY difficult to actually convict a cop, even in blatant murder, if they are in uniform, and on the job. Usually, the City which employs them pays a LARGE legal settlement to the victims’ family, and in extreme cases, the cops *might* lose a civil, (not criminal) lawsuit. Look at the (I think~)1500+ people who are shot and killed by cops every year in America! The U.S. Supreme Court has held in numerous cases, that cops are NOT individually required to enforce any specific law. But, conversely, an individual citizen is NOT allowed to resist even a blatantly illegal arrest. I have literally been fraudulently “charged”, ARRESTED, and dragged in to Court, for being home in my apartment, and not being suicidal. Yes, the Cops & Courts allowed that to happen. The case, and charges, were later dropped. But, obviously, you can’t “un-arrest”, and “un-charge” somebody…. Sounds like U.S. & Australian law is VERY different….. We don’t have the phrase “green light”, but I know what you mean. I know of a former cop who shot his boss 17 times, spent a month in jail, and then was LET GO, *FREE*, to leave the area. Such gross abuses are rare, yes, but they DO happen. Recently, a beautiful, traumatized “mentally ill” woman I know was taken in handcuffs and shackles to the State Hospital, by the Sheriffs. 3 days later, the State Hospital sent her home in a TAXI CAB…. Garth Daniels is, sadly, only an extreme example of Gov’t run amok…. I posted a link here, to >scribd.com<, where I posted the email reply from the Gov't of Victoria's "Mental Health Complaint Commission", or whatever it's called. They're playing legal GAMES, and WORD GAMES. And Garth….????…. Thanks again, "boans". Keep up the good work, my friend….

  5. This is really beyond belief. I am certain the lunatic psychiatrists torturing Garth are intimidated by your integrity and obvious success in ministering to the sickest of the sick without resorting to their horrifying methods cantered around restraints, toxic drugs, and brain boiling ECT.
    Where, however, are the other dissenting voices of the “decent” psychiatrists besides yourself? Why are they silent?

    ECT is an abomination. The fact anyone calling him or herself a “doctor” can promote or administer brain damage and call it “treatment” is beyond sickening and unethical. And 93 and counting? For what purpose?

    Why have John Read’s efforts fallen on deaf ears? Why have the protests achieved nothing?
    Why are Amnesty International and the United Nations unable to intervene?

    • Australia is pretty much a “decent psyhiatist”-free zone. Jock stands alone among the medical fraternity.

      We’re a human rights-free zone too.

      The moment a psychiatrist declares a person “dangerous”, no matter how ridiculous the claim, or even whether the psychiatrist has actually examined the patient (read “victim”), that’s it. No more legal or human rights for the term of your natural life. Done deal.

      • Regarding Garth’s `dangerousness’ _ He was under a charge for assault of a nurse with 3 witnesses. One said he had kicked the nurse in the head. My question is how? Where was the nurse? Has Garth developed an high kick to rival that of an athletic ballet dancer, hard to believe as he has become quite debilitated by being shackled to a bed for days/weeks/months on end? Or was the nurse sitting on the floor, or perhaps bending over a bed fastening shackles to a foot?
        The second witness stated that Garth had pushed the nurse? More believable. The third witness claimed he had merely yelled at the nurse. So two people were lying! I have written to the Nursing board and to the nurses in the case as well re the Code of Ethics of their profession. Worth reading.

  6. Interesting article, thank you. I hope you will be able to get this article published in some other places where it will be read online and in print in Australia.

    Similar distortions and denial to the ECT debacle operate when it comes to the attitudes of most psychiatrists in relation to psychiatric drugs in general and psychiatric diagnosis in general.

    This particular case is truly a Kafkaesque situation.

  7. I think Garth Daniels has Zyprexa poisoning. Or that crap has alot to do with this story.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=garth+daniels+zyprexa

    No string of negative words can adequately describe that evil shit and Garth had alot of exposure and who knows how many episodes of Zyprexa withdrawal diagnosed as the “illness” followed by the usual drugging assault that goes with it.

    I remember pacing back and forth in my home in withdrawal from that stuff for hours as my mind malfunctioned, feelings of terror and coming doom, only taking a break to vomit on the back steps to relieve the withdrawal nausea, I remained sick for months after that.

    “Don’t worry its safe” I was told.

    Psychiatry can go back to hell where it came from.

      • Ya “non addictive”, so non addictive that when you try and stop taking it cause it robbed the ability to feel good from anything you get insomnia so bad that unless you take more or take some high powered sedative like Ativan you go completely insane from sleep deprivation. It’s total evil hell, that terror fear doom feeling so overwhelming that rational thought is impossible.

        Its “non addictive” said they lying sacks of crap.

      • Lots of nasty comments online about every psych drug but words like Evil , Hell , Devil , Satan seem to always be included by Zyprexa victims for obvious reasons.

        I think the absolutely most insidious part of olanzapine’s evil is that outside observers will say a person looks “better” on it and refuses to believe the soul robbing hell effects the victim describes.

    • From what I can gather his admission in August 2015 was following an abrupt withdrawal for high dose benzos! And was voluntary. He was made involuntary when he disagreed with ECT and Closapine. His refusal to take Closapine is the excuse for using ECT. It seems he doesn’t have capacity to refuse ECT but he does for Closapine. There is some thought that he is an experiment. 92 ECT treatments is so far beyond ANY accepted use of the treatment, the inconsistencies re consent and the extraordinarily insistent aggression on the part of the doctors make one wonder. But they will not be able to publish, will they?

  8. It is not really mental disorder if he admits to sitting down and talking to them through their problems and refrains from medications, and that psychiatry is based on theory not science.

    There are emotional disturbances or nervous breakdowns from experiencing really bad things from war or personal abuse. A veteran feeling threatened when there is no reasonable threat of danger is a natural fear from what they experienced, but it is not a disorder just a logical state of their mind that can be changed to reasonably manage risk once again as we all do. It takes time and patience, not quick fixes of medications and ECT that become long term anyway.

    I think the main thing here is that this patient voluntarily admits himself to the hospital for ECT and medication treatment, and it would interesting to know if it was to keep his government benefits as that is often used to coerce one to give up their freedom.

    You don’t get to enjoy the luxury of independence, housing, food, security, and the pursuit of happiness if you don’t do what we say. The profits from this industry in psychiatry that fund the careers of many, in this case millions over years for one man, is the trade off.

    • Jack

      I cannot believe that Garth is willing to be shackled to his bed ankles and wrists for over 60 days running just so he can keep his “government benefits”. How is it that you can read this and then make this kind of a response. It sounds very much like blaming the victim again.

      • Look at it logically for a second, he is consenting to being ‘shackled’ or getting treatment with medication and ECT.

        The author says he leaves for a week at a time and returns.

        If he doesn’t get treatment they won’t pay him government benefits to survive.

        I am not saying he is abusing welfare, just that its a codependent relationship between government and patient.

        • There seems to be some confusion here. Garth has been continuously an inpatient since 20/8/2015. His only leave has been a few hours at a time during the day. For the last few months this has been denied him and since a 2 week hiatus (due to a tribunal halt of ECT) even his time out to have a cigarette was reduced to 10 minutes, if a nurse was available. After that the psychiatrists cut his drugs by half (? withdrawals), effectively gave him nicotine withdrawals, refused him leave to attend his photography course (which he had been allowed to enrol in 2 weeks earlier), removed his father’s guardianship (and disallowed all contact), and refused to tell visitors where he had been transferred to. I don’t know where you got the impression that ANY of this is with Garth’s compliance. Although his serious brain injury and hopelessness may have rendered him compliant in a physical sense. Garth has an Advance Directive refusing ECT under any circumstances, (trashed by the government and psychiatrists), he has NEVER agreed to it and I can’t imagine anyone, except perhaps a dedicated `bondage’ masochist, EVER agreeing to being shackled. If you haven’t been strapped down to a bed you should try it. It happened to me once and it is TORTURE.
          I’d also like to add that even if a person agreed to have ECT it is still barbaric to fire 450 volts through someone’s brain for 8 seconds, and it’s still barbaric to use poisonous substances to control behaviour when the science is proving that they destroy the brain, take 25 years off a person’s life span, and produce a quality of life that if you did it to a feral animal you’d be pilloried, fined and possibly jailed.
          I think you’re missing more than `part of’ an article.

          • “Oddly enough, the majority of his admissions were voluntary; he takes himself back to the hospital sometimes as little as a week after discharge. ”

            If he’s consenting to being shocked/medicated it’s no one’s place to say what they believe is good for him.

            He has an unhealthy codependent relationship with the government, where they pay for all his expenses with taxpayer money so long as he helps them make money participating in this treatment.

            The anger here is misdirected, blame the society for allowing this relationship.

        • I think perhaps Jock McLaren didn’t make it clear when he says that `he leaves for a week at a time and returns.’ This refers to what happens after Garth is discharged from a PERIOD in hospital. It does not mean a week at a time, going in and out for ECT and regular restraints. This is NOT `maintenance’ ECT, it is 3 times a week for 9 months. Over 20 years of institutionalisation, debiltated by heavy psychotropic drugs, and with his basically passive personality (there may be psychological reasons there too, about which we can only speculate), he has so few resources, and no ongoing therapy to teach him to cope in his life outside the institution, that he may, at times see it as a sanctuary, even `home’. See Goffman’s “Institutions”. In Australia it doesn’t matter if he is in or out of the institution, or in treatment, he will still get his welfare payments. I actually know Garth Daniels and he does not use the system for welfare. I am having trouble believing you are being serious, Jack.

          • Every single welfare system in Western Society has regularly scheduled check ups in order to continue to receive welfare for a mental disability. They don’t get welfare if their able to work, so being treated is the how they prove their disabled.

            He voluntarily goes to these ECT and medication treatments so that he can get his government money for survival like it or not.

    • Thank you for trying. This is almost word for word what I and John Read got from them. The much vaunted `protection’ afforded by the government in the 2014 new Mental Health Act LOOKS good but is a paper tiger. I wonder if anyone’s had any help from them at all? I also pointed out that people are too afraid of repercussions from the staff to complain so that even some dreadful abuse goes unreported. In one case 10 people DID complain about a couple of nurses, it was dismissed because “there was no record of the abuse in the case files”! Like, they’re going to write down `oh, yeah, and I beat up 3 patients today, raped a couple more, and removed leave and privileges from another 5. A great day!” THAT’S what REALLY goes on where the power imbalance is so huge.

  9. Great article– thanks –I think this is the key- After having spent something like $10 million over the past twenty years only to wreck this man’s life, they could not take even one chance in a thousand that somebody else could achieve what they couldn’t. If they had let him come to Brisbane and he improved, they would be in serious trouble.— and quite clearly- im not sure if it was ever really about Garth at all.

    • It isn’t, it’s about winning. Garth’s father attempted to take them to court re illegal use of ECT. He was right but messed up the legalities. The government has deep pockets.
      On September 28 I attended the Tribunal where Drs Jose Segal and Sarah McKay requested a further course of 12 ECT(to 30+) for Garth against his legally expressed wishes, via an Advance Directive. Mr Daniel had just had 4 ECT treatments in 6 days (recommended 3 in 7 days) including one that morning that prevented him being there. No explanation was asked for by the Tribunal members, or given as to why that was necessary. In fact no justification for the continued treatment was requested and the application was passed.
      As I left the room, Dr Jose Segal told Mr Bernard Daniels, Garth’s father, that, “when this course is over, I will get another, then another, then another.” He then walked on. His general demeanor was threatening and aggressive. When I caught the eye of Dr Sarah McKay, she said, `Don’t you talk to me.” I had said nothing.
      This meant that, including the 12 just approved, at least 48 further ECT treatments were planned. Thus it was decided in advance to give Mr Garth Daniels an unprecedented number of ECT treatment completely disregarding the guidelines of the Victorian Mental Health Act, the RANZCP, the Royal College of Psychiatry (UK), The World Psychiatric Association et al, which state quite clearly that a set number of treatments should not be prescribed at the start of a course of ECT.

      • This is an acute example of psychiatry totally run amok. How do these people get up in the morning and look themselves in the eye when they look in the mirror. Garth is going to die from all the shock “therapy” but they will never be held accountable. This is just totally bizarre in every respect.

        • A month or 2 ago, I saw a few minutes of video, that was posted by a Mother, of her then-teenage son being forced ECT’d in a juvenile facility in Massachusetts….. His torture was obvious. Equally obvious, was hearing the staff LAUGHING, – yes, laughing – at this young man’s torture. He was literally screaming bloody murder as he convulsed. And the staff was laughing. Even I have no words. (That was years ago, now, and yes, the lawsuit is pending….) Stephen, these people are **SADISTS**….
          There’s no better word to describe medical torturers….

      • It is- as is winning- and a lot more than just those things- I was commenting on why if anything it wasn’t being stopped- not whether anyone’s going to win or not. He was right but messed up the legalities– I don’t know about that in a legal language sense- but it wasn’t an independent venue or people- I know that much- it was the government – judge-psychiatrists-mental health authority- and defence lawyers- with bats in their hands- beating up their victim – with blood all over him. That’s how I saw -and see it.

  10. “My opinion is that he is not, and never has been, ‘schizophrenic.'” That was my gut reaction, after reading John Read’s blog about this poor man. And for the same reason as you point out. “At the age of 18, he suffered some brief psychotic episodes after heavy marijuana use which lead to him being detained and treated under an order.” Adverse effects of drugs are not “lifelong, incurable, genetic” brain diseases, as “schizophrenia” is claimed to be by mainstream psychiatry, thus this is a case of covering up misdiagnosis. And absolutely, covering up psychiatric failures and misdiagnosis, as well as the malpractice of all the mainstream doctors, is what psychiatry is, and has historically been about. Well, that and also covering up child abuse, according to the medical evidence.

    “Just to clarify my position, I never prescribe the group of drugs known as ‘mood stabilisers’ (lithium, carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, etc.) and very rarely (once or twice a year) prescribe antidepressants. I never use antipsychotic drugs for a person who is not actively psychotic and then only for a short time. In particular, I do not use them for patients who would elsewhere be given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Very few of my patients are ever admitted to a hospital.”

    I do wish all psychiatrists, and mainstream doctors, would read your treatment methods, and the resulting positive outcomes. Since I’m quite certain your approach to the use of psychiatric drugs is sage advise for all doctors. Personally, I’m trying to point out the lack of wisdom behind today’s “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations.

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/basics/treatment/con-20027544

    Since it’s already medically known that combining the antidepressants and antipsychotics is likely to result in “psychosis,” not caused by “bipolar,” but rather caused by anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning. Recommending combining the antidepressants and antipsychotics is unwise medical advice, unless your goal is to harm the patient for profit.

    And the truth is when you give a non-psychotic person an antipsychotic. The neuroleptics can, in fact, create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome. And the neuroleptics can create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced anticholinergic toxidrome. But the psychiatrists can’t tell the central symptoms of anticholinergic intoxication syndrome from “the classic symptoms of schizophrenia.”

    I see the DSM “mental illnesses” as a description of the iatrogenic illnesses the psychiatric drugs create. I agree the symptoms in the DSM are symptoms which can occur in human beings. But I don’t think the DSM “mental illnesses” themselves, are valid, reliable, provable brain diseases, or anything other than rationals to push psychotropic drugs. So I believe that makes me more of a Szasz sympathizer than you. But as just an independent, ethical medical researcher, I’m not here to compete with any psychiatrist.

    “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that being doped to the eyeballs with psychiatric drugs and then strapped spread-eagle to his bed while undergoing ECT month after month can change personality. It is a measure of the scientific naivete of mainstream psychiatry that they could ever believe this. It is also a measure of their intellectual arrogance that they are unable to acknowledge their error.”

    Personally, I see the psycho / pharmaceutical industries as having taken known medical ways to make people “depressed,” “manic,” “psychotic,” etc., thus harm people, with drugs. And organize this information in such a way in the DSM, so as to kill millions, while making billions for themselves and the pharmaceutical industry, with propaganda and misinformation. Which likely isn’t really “naïveté” on the part of those at the top, it’s more like malice and greed. I’m glad some at the top of the psychiatric community are repenting and confessing, to a degree, to their crimes though. I do agree, it may be “naïveté” on the part of the majority of the psychiatric workers, but they’re no longer even naive. They know what’s going on is wrong, and just don’t feel they have the power to change the system.

    But the mainstream psychiatrists do. So I agree, there is a very large problem with today’s mainstream psychiatrist’s “intellectual arrogance,” and their inability to “acknowledge their error[s].” And is it really wise for the psychiatrists to try to “change the personality” of all the “very mild, submissive and socially anxious” humans? The Holy Bible states, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” When industries choose to attack the “blessed,” one does have to wonder how wise those industries actually are, About as wise as the Nazi psychiatrists, perhaps?

  11. I have been closely involved with this case since 28/8/16 when I was asked to `take a look’. I was the Australian organiser of the International Day to ban ECT on May16, 2015 and had acted as an advocate for mental health patients. I am also an ex-psychiatric nurse (1970s), a psychiatry and ECT survivor in the 2000s and a published writer. I suggested to the Daniels family that they might contact John Read and Niall McLaren back in October 2015. On the 25/4/16 (ANZAC day, a significant national day in Australia) I sent this out across the internet: `I am going on record as saying – I believe Garth Daniels will die within a very short period and that the medical staff are expecting it. I believe that’s why he has been transferred from Upton House, Eastern Health,to a different service. That way Drs Katz and McKay believe that they will have distanced themselves from the consequences of their actions. This was what Chelmsford hospital in Sydney did so that the deaths would occur in other hospitals and not appear on their records. 25 people died under those circumstances, though a further 24 died in Chelmsford. 24 deaths looks a whole lot better than 49.
    The fact that nobody, including external medical people are permitted to see Garth, no staff member including Garth’s doctors, will communicate ANY information re his state or treatment, present or future, even to his family, is an indication of a cover-up of monumental proportions. The state must be forced to answer for this. The treatment has been sanctioned by them from the beginning, they have ignored evidence, warnings, offers of alternative care, and independent advice, preferring to support the unsupportable, so must wear the consequences.
    I also believe that Garth Daniels’ current condition is solely due to the brain damage he has inevitably suffered from the application of ECT 96+ times in 8 months. This includes any aggressive and unpredictable behaviour which would, under specialist neurological assessment, be considered highly likely to be the result of injuries sustained. (see aggression and disihibition as a consequence of temporal/frontal lobe injury). Therefore continuing to use ECT constitutes a reckless abandonment of normal clinical and ethical medical standards, which, if it leads to Garth Daniels’ death should be called culpable homicide. How is a one punch `king hit’ in a brawl that kills someone any more criminal than the continued use of a procedure, known to be risking death, until it actually kills someone?
    Please record this as I believe the government of Victoria should be legally answerable to a) the damage already caused, b) any future damage and c) Garths’ death (which I believe to be imminent. I am ashamed to be a Victorian.’
    Yes, I, and others, have tried every human rights, legal, media, influential individuals avenue possible. NO ONE has responded except to say, `it’s not within our power’…`we can’t intervene’…etc, if they respond at all. Mental patients are not as sexy as refugees, native Australians, battered wives, or sexually abused children, so our stalwarts of human rights don’t get international brownie points for standing up for THEM, so they don’t. Nobody seems to understand that if it can happen to this man, it can and is happening to many, many others who don’t have aggressively supportive families, and that might mean YOU. Our system is corrupt to the core, systemic abuse is institutionalised and the victims are not just the PBP (Poor Bloody Patients), but those who perpetuate it as well. There will come a reckoning, and it may well be the psychological collapse of the perpetrators. Denial will not support Cognitive Dissonance forever.
    This will not end well, for anyone.

  12. While I have never been administered ECT… I am another Australian male (24 y.o), who is a diagnosed schizophrenic. During my first inpatient admission and subsequent outpatient contact, I was asked at least once a day whether I saw things or heard voices (which I never have). These people make unilateral judgements and work backwards to justify them and that’s why they are dangerous. If you’re a male and verbally disagree (even politely) you will be physically intimidated by male nurses/security (doesn’t bother me as I am quite athletic), but it’s completely farcical.

    • “These people make unilateral judgements and work backwards to justify them,” very true. My psychologist’s medical records show proof she claimed all dreams, thoughts, and gut instincts are “voices.” I hadn’t realized at the time that she was likely being paid to cover up the sexual abuse of my four year old child, for an ELCA pastor and his best friend, who was on the board of my child’s school. Ironically, that school decided to close it’s doors forever on 6.6.06, after hearing that the medical evidence of the child abuse had been handed over by some decent nurses. Definitely, I ran into a bunch of people who went off worshipping only money and Satan.

  13. This is an opinion piece. I can respect the emotionality behind comments such as, “There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe that being doped to the eyeballs with psychiatric drugs and then strapped spread-eagle to his bed while undergoing ECT month after month can change personality. It is a measure of the scientific naivete of mainstream psychiatry that they could ever believe this. It is also a measure of their intellectual arrogance that they are unable to acknowledge their error.”

    ECT has been effective in (my) pervasively clinically depressed patients. Yet I have never heard of its application to schizophrenia per se. I am not sure how a treatment team could support that decision, if we are looking at sx associates with schizophrenia.

    Is there no appeal system within the treatment setting beyond the “tribunal?” That sounds like a rather archaic patient advocacy system. It does not work like that where I have practised.

    • Come on, there is no real patient advocacy system anywhere in the world where biological psychiatry reigns supreme. It’s all just a sham, these mental illness courts, and supposed lawyers who are supposed to defend you, etc. Anyone who stands up for “patients” as an advocate is never listened to and the system does to the person as they want, period.

      This is not just an “opinion” piece. This is a statement of fact about what is being done to one individual. This is not the first time that someone has written about what is happening to Garth.

      And how do you know that shock “treatment” has been beneficial to your patients? People suffering from TBI’s give the same kinds of responses that people take for improvement in the behavior of people labeled as “depressed” who have been given shock “treatment”.

      • The psychiatrists stated that my dear grandmother was “so much better” after they’d given her 40 some shock “treatments”. When she was brought home all she did was smoke cigarettes and stare at the floor. Prior to her wonderful “treatment” with shock “therapy” she gardened and was an artist and a wise woman who helped the poor people in our community with natural medicines found in nature. They turned my grandmother into a zombie. She was dead to us from the day that they let her out of the so-called “hospital” where they destroyed her with their shock “treatments”. Beneficial I would never call it. Torture is the most descriptive word for it and shame on you if you have it done to people.

        • Bang on. The blind, ignorant, and self- serving “psychiatrists” have not one fucking clue about “better”.
          I was, like you grandmother, destroyed by ECT that I “agreed” to based on lies and misinformation. It is barbaric, it is torture, it is trauma, and brain damaged all in one. Yes, shame on you, jfrye- how ironic that “fry” is part of your name here, for that is what you are doing to your “patients” with ECT.
          Thank you Stephen for stating the truth so poignantly. What a loss to your grandma and you.
          It reflects the rage I feel at what was done to me and by extension, to my children, who did not “consent” to having their mother destroyed by this kind of “help”.

          • You point out something very important. In many cases, it’s not just the person who was tortured with the shock treatments who is affected. Entire families are affected and sometimes torn apart by this barbaric practice. This affected not only my grandmother, but her husband my grandfather, my mother who was her daughter, my uncle and my three other siblings. My two brothers and one sister never had the chance to know their grandmother as she was before the shock treatments. I was lucky because I’d known her before and had the wonderful memories of the two of us going out into her flower gardens, where hummingbirds and butterflies would land on the palms of her upturned hands. All they ever knew was the woman who sat at the kitchen table, staring at the floor and smoking one cigarette after another until the day she had a massive stroke and died. Do I have an ax to grind with psychiatry? Absolutely. Do I want to dialogue with them so that we can all understand one another better. Absolutely not.

        • Stephen, they probably viewed your grandmother as their competition, “she gardened and was an artist and a wise woman who helped the poor people in our community with natural medicines found in nature.” Plus the psychiatrists seem to have a particular dislike for artists, too.

        • I’m from the United States. I work as a peer worker in a state “hospital” where I was once held as a patient. I’m quickly coming to the opinion that peer work cannot be done in traditional institutions. Even though I’m supposed to be an advocate for people on the units you can never say anything that goes against or disagrees with the psychiatrists running the units.

          • Ah k. I’m in a respite centre atm that has a legal responsibility for my health cus I am supposedly unwell. I slept at my mother’s house instead of here last night and they sent the cops to check it all out…. and the sick thing is the police weren’t even complicit… they ddn’t even see it fit to wake me cus I don’t have a record and have never given them any trouble.

          • Stephen, you’ll have to make your own decisions, of course, but maybe right there “in the belly of the beast” really IS where you can do the most good. I want to re-affirm that you will always have a lot of support, from MANY folks here on MIA, and elsewhere…. The headline today, in the local paper, is about the local psych ward closing down, due to a lack of psychiatrists. Now, the nearest in-patient psych treatment is the State hospital, 60 miles away…. In tiny N.H.!…. (Although of course not stated in the article, part of the reason is the VERY BAD reputation of the hospital, and the local CMHC, in the medical community….) So, as hard as it is, maybe that’s the place you can do the most good, for the most people. I wish there was something more than writing supportive comments, that I could to help. You’re one of my FRIENDS here, and I always enjoy what you have to say in your comments. Have a GOOD WEEKEND! ~b.

    • “ECT has been effective in my pervasively clinically depressed patients.”
      Really? “Effective” according to whom? The nurses and doctors observing the stunned euphoric giddiness resulting from brain injury that they think equates with “improved mood” or patient “complaining less”.
      “Effective” for how long? Till the brain injuries resolve and “relapse” (lol) mean more ECT or “maintenance” ECT?

      Electrical injuries causing neurological damage and grand mal seizures disrupting the brain’s normal functioning is a lunatic approach to “treating” something labelled as “depression”.
      Garth’s case is particularly horrific, but where does it fall on the spectrum of the articles in MIA about the young girl with the feeding tube being court ordered to have ECT, or poor Elsie, agitated in hospital, ECT’d to death for being a “danger to herself”? Or the poor pregnant girl or elderly woman driven iatrogenically insane by psych drugs being “shocked”.
      No one should be given so much as 1 electrical head injury. ECT is not treatment; it is torture for everyone and anyone it is given to. It is “craniocerebral trauma” and the FDA wants to put it in Category II?

      ECT is a barbaric assault on vulnerable, sick, and desperate people.
      Read Lauren Tenneys article outlining the “outcomes” of ECT for hundreds and hundreds of victims.
      Yes, Garth’s story is horrific because of the numbers of ECT involved, the restraints, the drugs, the loss of 14 years of his life, the inability of his loved ones to free him.
      But we cannot

    • To: “jfrye”:
      Based on what you’ve said in your SINGLE (so far….) comment, you’re gonna need a whole lot more evidence, before *I* will even begin to take you seriously. I’m sure I speak also for most of the other regular commenters here…. I have a very close friend who was an ELECTRO-CUTION TORTURE VICTIM ~15 years ago…. She still suffers subtle, but unmistakable cognitive deficits.
      I claim that what you call “benefits” in your “patients” are more correctly described as the blindnesses of YOUR cognitive dissonance, and DENIALl. Yes, this is a clinical allegation on my part. If you have ANYTHING other than ANECDOTAL evidence, then let’s see it…. I have a 40+year career behind MY assertions….In one of my comments, above, I have included a link to a scribd document which shows the Gov’t reply to my complaint regarding Mr. Garth Daniels ongoing medical torture. And, **WHY** were there NO ECT victims who spoke pro-ECT before the FDA recently, but MANY ECT victims spoke to the FDA *against* ECT?….Got an answer to that?….

    • JFrye
      In Australia psychiatric patients have no rights and no protections whatsoever.

      The piece is no more an opinion piece than your anecdotal claim regarding your use of ECT on your “clinically depressed” patients.

      Garth has had all those shocks. The psychiatrists simply have no intention at all of stopping. That is fact.

      It would certainly appear they want to murder him.

      You are a psychiatrist….perhaps you could rally some of your colleagues in the US to take an international stand against such barbaric treatment and lodge a complaint with the Victorian Mental Health [sic] Tribunal and the Australian and NZ Psychiatric Association.

      Perhaps if doctors and the victim’s family here would lodge complaints with AHPRA about the professional misconduct of these doctors, something might happen!! They are acting so far outside what is considered reasonable practice anywhere in the world, perhaps AHPRA might suspend them.

  14. I have a letter here from the Chief Psychiatrist who provides “expert legal advice to the Minister”. In this letter he outlines the grounds required for a person to be incarcerated and force drugged. This is that the medical practitioner “need only ‘suspect’, on grounds they believe to be reasonable”. My question about this misrepresentation of the relevant section of the Mental Health Act was what if the medical practitioner believed that ‘tomato’ was reasonable? It would certainly mean that the current corrupt practice of verballing statutory declarations in order to conceal “bad faith referrals” (deprivation of liberty with and without kidnapping) would not be necessary. No more fraud necessary without a burden of proof to protect the consumers, carers and the community. This of course is a farce, that a person can be incarcerated and force drugged because ‘tomato’. But getting the Chief Psychiatrist to admit there is a need for evidence of an illness? Not a chance, we like it being able to snatch people from their beds and have them dribbling in a cell within the hour. Then see how far ya get mate lol. Human and civil rights? The whole community has none says our Chief Psychiatrist.

    Deeeo42, I would like to be able to contact you if this is not a problem.

  15. Psychiatry will give in when people invade offices, wards, clinics, hang banners, chain themselves to pharmacy counters and take domestic hammers to ECT machines.

    I salute the author for his advocacy and humane treatment.

    It is up to the rest of us to get organised and get militant

        • I wish they had a branch here. I tried to organise an ECT support group but only got 3 replies in 6 months, one a scientologist. I sent out a call to set up Mindfreedom but got no response. About 10 people came to the world wide protest to ban ECT last May, (see MIA Peter Breggin) – One person who didn’t want to be directly involved, and John Read who offered support re my Press release and talked to a journalist I knew, helped me. Australians are complacent, laid back and will accept almost anything until it directly affects them. I guess it’s being part of belonging to God’s own country and so far away from the mainstream that apathy is the core attribute of my country. I am elderly, tired and a poor organiser, particularly after the brain damage from ECT. Where are the young, active people I knew in my youth as a femininst, and anti Vietnam supporter? Did we get it so right that everything’s OK now? Somebody please step up.

          • >[email protected]<
            Even if you're "Down Under", and I'm here in the U.S.,
            email me about MINDFREEDOM. I've been in *some* email contact with mindfreeedom recently, and yeah, sadly, they're not doing so well…. For a variety of reasons. But I'd be glad to exchange ideas and support by email. Write me, ok?
            ~bradford

  16. I did not even know that ECT still exists. We should be intervening, non-violently, and otherwise.

    Photograph and record license plate numbers of all their staff people?

    This kind of an issue has to attacked from all angles simultaneously. So you need different kinds of activists and organizations to carry it out.

    Certainly the message should be put out right on the ground that anyone working in such an institution should be convicted of Crimes Against Humanity and imprisoned for life.

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/

  17. Have any of the doctors or psychologists or Garth’s family considered lodging a formal complaint with AHPRA, the Victorian Medical Board, or what ever the organisation charged with professional misconduct is in Victoria?

    Garth’s treatment is so far removed from any clinical guidelines anywhere in the world that it at least might be worth a try.

  18. I don’t know but I have thought of it. AHPRA consists of various professional bodies, one of which is the Medical Board of Australia. The problem is that in the eyes of the medical profession ECT is seen as a safe and effective treatment that is being legally prescribed, and there is no legal or professional limit to the number that can be used. The Chief Psychiatrist has, in fact, altered the rules recently, possibly to allow this extreme use. Therefore the Medical Board will not take the opinion of `lesser’ medicos, like Jock McLaren, or any lay person over the authorities. There is also the problem of the `I won’t s**t in your nest if you don’t s**t in mine attitude that pervades all of medicine. The only chance would be a concerted effort by one or more doctors with significant authority, such as neurologists who have examined the patient and found him to be injured by his treatment. First, we can’t get Garth to an independent neurologist for assessment (I’ve tried), and second, even if we did, where would we find one with the guts, morals and ethics to dob the bastards in? Apart from the medical profession, it’s un-Australian to dob on your mates. I have written to the Nursing Board, the RANZCP, the board of the hospital where Garth is now, suggesting that the whole thing is becoming an embarrassment, and that to keep their reputations they might try to control their clearly out of control, possibly unwell, colleagues.
    In my letters to Garth, I put messages to the nurses, because I know they’ll open them. I talk about nursing code of ethics, morals, responsibilities and conscience. Maybe I’ll get to one. Maybe some will have bad dreams, I hope so. Perhaps we can all do that.

  19. The justification that Garth Daniels is dangerous does not hold water. ECT is supposed to be a `treatment’, it is to be used to relieve the symptoms of illness, to alleviate distress and to save lives. It is NOT behaviour control. The 3 witnesses to the assault charge against Garth came up with 3 different stories. This has yet to be played out in court but I suggest a good barrister would take the nursing staff apart. I believe the `aggression’ excuse is completely fake. Dr Sarah MacKay’s physical withdrawal from Garth as if she was `afraid’ of him was a very poor performance and I really think she should steer clear of acting as she has no talent for it. I sat with Garth on several occasions and hab=ve absolutely no fear of him at all, but this has been the only symptom put forward for the continued use of ECT. Even if Garth was aggressive, this is NOT a symptom of ANY mental illness. I want to get the nurses under oath with the treat of perjury charges if they lie and see how long it would be before the whole thing falls apart. Sadly these doctors are protected, arrogant and teflon coated.

  20. A major problem in the Mental `health’ system, along with the prison service and anywhere there is a huge power imbalance sanctioned by the state. As the availability of children attracts pedophiles, those who enjoy power are attracted to institutions full of powerless people. Arguably the most enjoyable thing to most psychopaths is the power they have over others. Their lack of empathy, conscience and compassion coupled with their disdain for the “weakness” of those who DO have these things, enables them to do well in such places. It might be interesting to do a personality survey of staff, including doctors, who work in the public Mental `health’ system, as opposed to the private system where money is a more motivating factor. I suggest we might find a disproportionate number of people on the sociopathic/psychopathic continuum.

  21. Please consider writing an email to the people at 4 Corners. Whist it may not result in any investigative journalist doing a story on this atrocity, they have in the past taken on rogue doctors.

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/contact/

    For example (video will not be available in the US but transcript of story is there)

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/08/25/4071837.htm

    If there is anyone who would do such a story in this country, I believe it is them. With international interest someone may just take it on.

  22. Why can I not reply directly, Jack Daniels? “Every single welfare system in Western Society has regularly scheduled check ups in order to continue to receive welfare for a mental disability. They don’t get welfare if their able to work, so being treated is the how they prove their disabled. He voluntarily goes to these ECT and medication treatments so that he can get his government money for survival like it or not.” Sadly you don’t seem to have got onto this. Garth Daniels does NOT go voluntarily to anything. Garth has begged the ECT staff not to do it every time. He spends protracted time shackled to his bed. He has had his `privileges’ e.g. having a 10 minute smoko, severely restricted. He is kept isolated from friends and family, and he has NO SAY whatsoever in what happens to him as he is a ward of the state. He lives in the institution, has no social contacts, no life. Maybe his social security income is accumulating in a bank account somewhere but as a person without rights he has no access to it, now or for the last 9 months. His treatment is totally against his will, though he has acquiesced to drugs in the hope that this would stop the ECT (now well over 90). It has not. Oh, and he now has a severe ABI (acquired brain injury) which will probably mean he will never be able to exist as an independent adult human being again. What a price to pay for about $450.00 a week. Maybe there are SS cheats out there but I can assure you there aren’t many who would willing subject themselves to the mental health system in Victoria to get it. Not after the first encounter at least. Please look up the testimonies of those who have fallen under the mantal health bus, or better yet try it, try it out yourself. It’s easy to con a psychiatrist (see Rosenhan), so you too could live happily on a mental health disability pension. Good luck!

    • I will have to agree to disagree due to the article being poorly written.

      “Oddly enough, the majority of his admissions were voluntary; he takes himself back to the hospital sometimes as little as a week after discharge. ”

      This contradicts what you say, that he is institutionalized and inpatient who has to suffer from mandatory electric shocks and medication.

      Though my point is similar to yours in that I agree he is being coerced to submit to treatment, but for different reasons like getting welfare payments or free long stays at the hospital to save on rent?

      Good luck in helping him and others.

  23. Jack, he lives at home with his family since he was first admitted 20 years ago. This man, who is one of thousands, most of whom don’t use the `service’ with it’s restrictive environment, forced medication, terrible food, unpleasant staff, coupled with the utter boredom where the most interesting thing on offer is the anticipation of mealtimes, to avoid paying RENT. If you have ever been an inpatient in a mental health institution, and I have, (I was also a psychiatric nurse some 30 years earlier) now, or in the past, you would know that there are much better ways of conning the welfare system than that.

  24. Thomas Szasz never said that there are no “mental disorders”. What he said and proved was that there are no “mental illnesses”. He refers to the FACT that illnesses MUST have a PHYSICAL origin before being called “illnesses”,and “mental illness” lacks such proof. He adds that “mental disorders” is just a euphemism for “mental illness”. For the rest, I agree with you, Garth Daniels’s involuntary treatment is basically torture.

    • 20% of the country in a drugged stupor, and weapons in every home? They have created the very thing they fear most. There is no need to hunt them down. Let them line their pockets with their love of money, and hide in their castles with their paranoid delusions. For now lol

      • I say a weapon in every home but am not referring to firearms. Don’t know if the Australian public is aware but based on my experience it is “reasonable grounds” for the police to make a referral to mental health services should a person be found in possession of a knife in their own home.

        In my case the knife was planted in my pocket after I had been dropped with a spiking of benzos. The police didn’t even find it on my person when they searched me, but are being enabled in the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’ (just say you found them in possession of a knife and you have the grounds required to act, cover up later if and when required). And who is going to assist a person who is now a knife wielding maniac just released from a mental institution?

        It does however mean that any and all protection for the public from corrupt public officials is removed. A ‘noble’ form of corruption some have said lol

  25. We don’t need to hunt them down, we know who they are. The problem is that psychiatrists are near enough to teflon coated when it comes to retribution. Their claims are based on opinion only so they get a coterie of mates around to support their opinions about why they did what they did and no one can say nay. Judges respect the professional status of the `doctor’, the law supports that the opinion of a professionally trained psychiatrist is to be taken over that of others, including defense lawyers and human rights groups/advocates who `don’t understand’ the medical details of the matter. A prominent US psychiatrist, often quoted here, Dr Ron Pies recently wrote re the value of antipsychotic drugs `…a commentary on some recent studies and their sometimes controversial interpretation. I would argue that interpreting these complex studies requires an in-depth understanding of medical research design, psychopharmacology, and the numerous confounds that can affect treatment outcome. Unfortunately, a lack of medical training has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.’ This is, of course filibuster and rubbish but it’s what the powers that be, hear. (Phil Hickey tackled THIS piece)
    Earlier this year, Professor John Read wrote 3 linked articles for MIA about this case and explained how the authorities shut down all attempts to expose/control these doctors for what was, I agree, criminal behaviour. THAT is why it is almost impossible to get justice, to control or even challenge rogue behaviour, and most of all, to change the status quo.
    The medical profession protects its own as well, so outrage from other disciplines e.g. neurology, isn’t forthcoming either. We’re talking about power and money, something that few will ever give up willingly, and the medical profession, having taken over from the church, is in the box seat for both. So unless there is a huge revolution, nothing’s going to change soon and Dostoyevsky’s – `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be indistinguishable from a wild beast’, will continue to reign.

    • Don’t know if you saw the 4 Corners program “Insult to Injury” this week deeeo42. The claim is that up to 20% of our police are suffering from PTSD and depression as a result of their work, and many when making claims for damages are taking their own lives.

      What I wonder is why insurance companies are not seeing that these people who are being injured in the course of their work are not being given the highly effective and safe combination drug and ECT therapies? Is there a need for ‘interventions’ here? Or is it that they see the results of snatching people out of their beds and delivering them to hospitals for ‘treatment’?

      Certainly the original use of ECT was to get those who had been ‘shellshocked’ back to work asap, and it was obviously effective then, why not now?

      • I find this so confusing in that the Senior Constable (and PC) who woke me in my bed after they knew I had been drugged without my knowledge with benzos, was so acutely aware of what constitutes a serious mental illness that they knew I would require an ‘assessment’ by a Community Nurse. And fortunately the Community Nurse who knew a knife had been planted in my pocket as a means of referral was waiting in my dining room (funny that). Now that I am his ‘patient’ he can have the police he brought as a referral to have me delivered to a hospital for a chemical baseball bat. They call this PRN and it looks like you consented, though you are no longer in a condition to confirm this.

        And yet police are having difficulty identifying serious mental illness when it comes to their own colleagues?

        • Perhaps they are concerned about the bad publicity of seeing their SSRI `treated’ depressed running amok and murdering people. They have guns after all. And you know the fear all those who exercise power authorities have of finding themselves powerless, especially amongst the very people they abused? What does a policeman, psychiatrist, psych nurse feel when faced with the knowledge they need psychiatric `help’ and know full well what that `help’ looks like, and who they’ll meet? Suicidal?
          I knew a doctor who found herself a psych patient – the admitting nurse leaned across the desk into her face and said, “you’re not a doctor here.”

          • Am I alone in thinking that the Australian Psychological Societies media statement about the abuse in the detention centre in the NT is a bit …… mmmm how do I put this?

            http://www.psychology.org.au/news/media_releases/2August2016/

            See if these children were over 18 the treatment being given as described in this article would not be abuse? I’d be taking my chances with the brutes in the videos which the Minister managed to avoid seeing I think.

          • Good news about the police deeeo42 is that they have the powers to refer each other. They will need to get in quick though, because there’s a first strike policy. Whoever gets smeared first goes down lol.

            I know a psych who will do remote snow jobs for a couple of hundred (free unintended negative consequences in an ED if it fails), and not a chance of the authorities looking. So cheap I found it an offer to good to be true but …..