MindFreedom International -- 7 November 2008
Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock http://www.mindfreedom.org - please forward
If it's Wednesday, then Ray Sandford is Getting
Escorted from His Home for Another Forced Electroshock
Minnesota Resident Gets Involuntary Electroconvulsive
Therapy (ECT) On A Weekly Ongoing *Outpatient* Basis
ACTION: How You Can Easily E-mail Minnesota Governor
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were
I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.
Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at
Ray's sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights,
Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.
Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital.
There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will.
On an outpatient basis.
And it's been going on for months.
Ray says the weekly forced electroshocks are "scary as hell." He
absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it's causing poor
memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. "What am
I supposed to do, run away?" Instead, Ray phoned his local library's
reference desk to ask about human rights groups, and the librarian
referred him to MindFreedom International.
Ray called me at our office here at MindFreedom International about
two weeks ago. At first I wasn't sure I believed him.
Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of
electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the
world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the
United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global
ban on all involuntary electroshock.
But this is the first time I've been on the phone with someone
getting court-ordered forced shock while living out in the community,
on an outpatient basis.
This is the ultimate double whammy.
I confirmed Ray's story by calling two staff at Victory House as well
as his court-appointed conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Luthern Support
Services of Minnesota.
Ms. Wilhelm said, "We are following the letter of the law." She said
the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that
require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes.
Ms. Wilehlm says it's all legal and she can't do anything about it.
Krista Erickson, chair of MindFreedom's Shield Campaign, sees it
differently. "This is terrible. This is a serious human rights
violation that should stop. I hope MindFreedom members and supporters
speak out. Even if Minnesota is following the letter of the current
law, the law ought to be changed. And Ray has not had the legal power
to appeal to higher courts."
I pointed out to Conservator Wilhelm that the public -- when they
find out about forced electroshock -- is passionately opposed to
their taxpayer money being used to force such brutality on citizens.
Ms. Wilhelm did let slip that what is happening to Ray -- involuntary
outpatient electroshock -- is not that uncommon in Minnesota.
But when Ms. Wilhelm found out we at MindFreedom are issuing one of
our public human rights alert to you and others, at Ray's repeated
request, she said something chilling.
Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop MindFreedom!
Ms. Wilhelm told me, "Only I can give you permission legally to say
anything publicly about this."
I pointed out we are not a medical facility, and that if she falsely
claims we're doing anything illegal then this is defamation. Which
really is illegal.
Ms. Wilhelm laughed loudly in the phone, said "let our lawyers talk,"
and hung up on me. I hope she hung up to read the First Amendment.
Let's disobey Ms. Wilhelm!
Spread Ray's alert far and wide! Speak out against this electrical
Because... Remember... While the world marvels at the power of USA
If it's Wednesday morning, then Ray Sandford is being led from his
home -- which is supposed to be his castle -- to get another weekly
forced procedure that can cause brain damage and wipe out memories.
- David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
Mind your freedom. Disobey Ray's conservator now!
Forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet,
And take the *below* actions. Thank you. Ray and I are counting on you!
* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *
You can do this in a moment. It's free! DO IT NOW!
E-mail your firm but polite message to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
SAMPLE MESSAGE -- your own words are best:
"Investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray
Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray is brought
from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital
for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer
money should not fund torture!" [Your name/contact.]
1) E-mail a complaint to Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN)
about Ray's conservator.
"Investigate allegations that LSSMN employee Tonya Wilhelm tried to
stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about
her client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly outpatient
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. If
verified, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm, and please
place this in her permanent personnel record. Please support human
rights." [Your name/contact.]