Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Shockingly Rotten Way to treat Humans

     The following letter was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I'm happy to report that the FDA is moving forward with plans to ban the use of the electrical shock devices discussed in the letter. The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts is the only place in the United States where such devices are used.
     It "serves" children and adults with developmental, behavioral and emotional disabilities and defends the shock-treatments as being more humane than the use of psychotropic drugs. Some of the children and adults wearing shock devices at the center have autism.
     Please remember that one-third of people with autism also have epilepsy, so I assume there are people at the JRC who are repeatedly shocked while having seizures for behavior that is directly connected to epilepsy. The shocks would then lower their seizure thresholds, increase anxiety and create an endless loop of torture.
     On Page 5 of the letter, Glenda Crookes describes psychotropic drugs as a form of chemical restraint that would leave JRC residents in a semi-comatose state. Unfortunately, the 40 to 50 residents currently being shocked had no choice in deciding whether they would rather live in a highly sedated state or one in which they are constantly in fear of when the next electrical current will flood through their bodies.
      That's because the people wearing shock devices are placed at the center by their parents. People who call themselves physicians come up with the "treatment plan" for each individual. I'm not sure if those are doctors of philosophy or actual medical doctors who supposedly take an oath to do no harm.
      Many of the side-effects of antipsychotic medications listed on Page 5 can also be found on prescription inserts for commonly prescribed antidepressants, sleeping pills and painkillers. Weight gain, sexual dysfunction, dependence and sedation are a few examples. The only difference in Crookes' description is the addition of select adjectives, such as "severe," "major," "acute," and "sudden." I may lack the computer savvy to scan and present the letter in a pretty format, but it isn't beyond my skills to spot someone playing with words to her own advantage. 
     Reference notes are included as a reminder that people who feel the need to defend their actions often try to spread the blame.
     Administrators at the JRC consider it more humane to attach a shock device to someone's forearm, upper arm, upper thigh, calf, torso/stomach, palms of hands, soles of feet and buttocks than to administer medication that might alleviate the drive to harm oneself. 
    This has resulted in 45 to 50 individuals being the only people in the United States to have to endure this type of treatment on a daily basis for whatever behavior the center deems inappropriate. Every other residential treatment facility in the country uses "treatments" that are not so shocking.
     Thank you to the FDA for finally calling an end to this brutality. I hope the entire center gets shut down and everyone who defends it stripped of their license to practice elsewhere.