Elizabeth Ellis protests her forced electroshock treatment on Mind Freedom

Categories: Health
elizmug200.jpg
Courtesy MindFreedom.
Ellis says she's been shocked 13 times.
It's been almost two years since we reported the tale of Ray Sanford, a Twin Cities man forced into electroconvulsive therapy by a court order. Now, another Minnesotan receiving ECT is publicly protesting her involuntary treatment.

Elizabeth Ellis, a 67-year-old retired teacher, says she's been shocked more than a dozen times against her will since last September.

In January, Ellis was part of a teleconference for Mind Freedom International, a patient-advocacy nonprofit based out of Eugene, Oregon. After introducing herself to the rest of the group during the call, Ellis announced she had been sentenced to involuntary ECT.

davidoaks.jpg
Courtesy David Oaks.
Oaks also fought to stop Ray Sanford's ECT treatment.
Mind Freedom quickly came to her defense. The site's advocates have started an online campaign for Ellis, urging readers to call Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and protest.

"It's all for one and one for all," says David Oaks, executive director for Mind Freedom. "We're speaking out, we're organizing numbers of people."

Mind Freedom also published the court documents sentencing Ellis to ECT. According to the documents, she's been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, a poorly understood condition where a patient experiences multiple symptoms of schizophrenia. An excerpt:

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Via MindFreedom
An excerpt from a court document, dated 11/22/2010, sentencing Ellis to involuntary ECT.

ECT is controversial among physicians. Some say it's dangerous and shouldn't be used. Others say that it's effective, especially for patients who don't respond to milder treatment options.

In a 2008 interview with City Pages, Dr. Max Fink argued that the treatment has proved to be a viable option throughout history, which is why it made a comeback in conventional medicine during the 1980s:

"Many doctors had patients who had been given the best care in the major centers of the world with pills, but they still had patients who were very, very sick," says Dr. Fink. "So they turned to doctors who were using ECT devices, and one by one, hospital by hospital, ECT was reintroduced. Most of the reintroduction occurred at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. By now, there aren't many psychiatric hospitals that don't have ECT."

Since his wife began receiving ECT, Robert Ellis says Elizabeth's behavior has changed significantly. The last time he spoke to her was a week ago. Since then, she has entered into a period of silence, he says.

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Courtesy MindFreedom.
Robert Ellis says his wife has been different since the treatment.
"She hasn't talked to me since," he says. "She'll come to the phone and listen, and I can talk to her and tell her how much I love her and everything and she'll listen, and all of a sudden she'll hang up and that's it." Ellis is currently being held at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center, says Robert Ellis. She is not currently receiving ECT, but she has a court date scheduled later this month that will determine if she continues the controversial treatment.

Robert Ellis hopes the courts will put an end to the unwanted shock therapy, he says. "It's what Elizabeth wants."

For more on ECT in Minnesota, read our 2008 feature on Ray Sanford.

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16 comments
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Wrong Diagnosis
Wrong Diagnosis

Wrong Diagnosis always leads to bad results,We have to be very careful while choosing a medical service provider for us.

Cheryl
Cheryl

To my mind anyone who does not want ECT is sane! Likewise anyone who forces ECT on someone is insane!

Eurocountrymarket
Eurocountrymarket

ECT is an unpunished crime in this world. Loss of personality and earily death are the deal, but "under" control, sure.Let mwe just ask you, would you volunteer to have high voltage electricty go through your body via your frontal lobes?Have you ever experienced an electric shock.In what way is or has pain EVER BEEN THERAPUTIC?The answer is pain abberates, so this is wrong and more importantly unworkable.Candice HammerSupporter of Human Rights

MADASHELL
MADASHELL

ECT is an insane and barbaric treatment.

Marymaddock
Marymaddock

Thank you for covering this important story. It is outrageous that anyone should be forced to receive an epileptic seizure, which causes brain damage and dsyfunction, by doctors who profess to 'first do no harm'.

Nadine
Nadine

Without the use or threat of force, fascism could not exist. Machiavelli, Mussolini, Hitler knew this. All dictators, would-be dictators, and bullies know this basic fact. And this is the case with psychiatry. Without the use and threat of force, institutional psychiatry would die. Lots of psychiatrists would be out of a job. I wish that would happen! Psychiatry gets its authority and power to force, imprison, involuntarily commit, and treat individuals against their will from the state. In institutional psychiatry in fascist states, forced treatment is the rule, not the exception. There is now irrefutable, documentary evidence that it was the German psychiatrists, particularly prominent professors of psychiatry, and psychiatry department heads, who were chiefly responsible for initiating and administering the infamous T4 program, which involved the mass murder of over 200,000 mental patients and thousands of sick and disabled children and adults during the holocaust. The term euthanasia and mercy death to describe this murderous program is a cruel euphemism.

Martin Taniane
Martin Taniane

Any psychiatrist who inflicts ECT on anyone should be made take the very same treatment first if it is supposed to be of benefit to people. ECT should be banned completely immediately as should all their drug treatments and psychiatrists who abuses their power and even lawyers and the court system that forces anyone to undergo any type of treatment against their will should all be jailed. When I was committed against my will and would not comply and behave as they wished and accept this enforced imprisonment and treatment without trial I was locked in a very small room in the locked ward and I kept kicking the door, they then took my shoes away, I keep banging with my fists on the door. This was when I was having a Mass said for my father for the first time in my life when I realised fully he had been totally victimised under the law which amounted to internment without trial. I thought I could still beat them at their own game and thought they couldn't stop me from praying right where I was but I was wrong again. I had no wish or desire to be caged like an animal where there was not toilet or toilet paper (yes use your own imagination to figure out what I had to do for No 1 & 2) so I kept on banging on the door until eventually four big guys came in and three of them held me down and ripped down my trousers while the fourth one injected me in the ass to put me to sleep. As blood spurted in the air I was still defiant and told them they could break my body but they couldn't break my spirit as it was not theirs to break. It was easy to tell they were very surprised by my remarks and one in particular seemed to be taken back by my statement and stance.This idiot was and had to be one step ahead of them all the time and I had to learn very quickly how to play the game, and that's what it is, just a game with peoples lives, and with no family support the only one I could depend on was myself. My last involuntary committal back in 1993 was as a Person of Unsound Mind and was threatened with being transferred to The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum Dublin by the head doctor. A couple of days later he informs me he thought the best thing he could do was to send me home and give me my fathers medical records. The next day he comes into the locked ward and dangles a micro film before my eyes and says ''Those are your fathers records but the machine is broken and we cannot get a cop off the micro film until it gets fixed. My mind went into a whirl and my immediately instinct was if I made any move to grab them I would find myself in Dundrum, so I told him firmly that if he gave me that micro film I would have it converted onto a video film in an hour and be playing it up on the TV in the corned. It took them over a year and a half before they parted with my fathers medical records and the main reason I did not end up in Dundrum is because unknown to me at the time the head doctor received a solicitors (Lawyers) letter from me as I had been seeking ways to protect myself before I had got committed that last time. After that they tried to use the court system to suppress me rather then admit their own wrongs and the failure of the legislation to protect peoples human and constitutional rights.I just had another bright idea, perhaps the US should turn their war planes around and return from Libya and drop a few bombs on those pharmaceutical companies and round up all the shrinks and shove them into one of their own asylums and send them to kingdom come.

End insanity defense
End insanity defense

In some parts of the planet they still believe that it is okay to put rings around the necks of young girls until their necks grow so that they would break without them. We are told we just don't understand what those fathers do to their daughters and so the child's rights are ignored because the only persons whom matter are "adults" with "custody". Just because ECT is accepted by others does not mean anyone has a right to force this upon someone else. A person is allowed to smoke knowing that it will kill them and they are not called incompetent. However the superior decide it is okay to force someone else to undergo a painful treatment that is designed to cause a convulsion and has the side effect of amnesia. You may forget who your relatives even are with ECT, some survivors say they have lost memories permanently. Mrs. Ellison had a Master's degree in psychology, so if they force it on her they will try to force this highly profitable and damaging abuse of human rights and dignities on anyone. Stand up for your rights too and call your senators before it spreads to you.

Blackfeather
Blackfeather

Electro convulsive "therapy" is psychiatry's version of whipping compliance into a patient. It's inventor noticed that a shock made pigs more docile before their slaughter. Great research!In Australia ECT is still given to children. It is assault and should be considered a criminal offence. Psychiatry will never get out of the dark ages. If it wasn't funded by the governments and drug companies it would be out of business. It's days are numbered.

Bob
Bob

Those of us who have received a mental health diagnosis have been scapegoats for many of soceity's ills. There are many non-drug treatments available, but rarely does the medical establishment ever mention them. Meditation has been proven to work, it was unlikely Elizabeth was ever informed of this, nor the judge who ordered the unproven ECT treatment. Proof also exists for yoga, Eye Movement Desentatization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another. Plus promising therapies such as Cranial Sacral therapy and many others. But they don't and won't bring billions of dollars to the drug pushing machines, and apparently politicians are too much in debt to their drug company benefactors. Arrogance and contempt have been the standard treament in mental health for too long a time. For additional info on prevention and recovery from mental illness please go to www.approach2balance.org .

Martin Taniane
Martin Taniane

This sort of thing goes on all over the world and not just in America.I'm from Ireland and never met my own father, he was wrongfully institutionalized for the last 19 years of his life. It troubled me all of my life as I didn't know what had happened to him. I sought help from psychiatry and instead of help I was almost destroyed with drugs. My marriage broke-down as a result and I lost wife, children and home as she was told I wouldn't get well. I started to confront authorities and for my sins I was committed against my will four times to the same institution my father had died in in 1973. To protect myself and fight for justice I had to take legal action and my case is lodged in the High Court since 1994 where I am challenging the Constitutionality of the now revoked 1945 Mental Treatment Act which did not provide any review process and people could, and were held indefinitely, which meant until they died, as was the case of my father. That was divorce Irish style. The Native American people thought they were living in a free country and we know what happened to them, so if anybody is suffering from any delusions that we are free then your already in their trap. Thanks be to God I'm still crazy, crazy enough to take on the Big Guns all on my own and I'll never surrender. The biggest Empires came tumbling down and history is still in the making. One small poor guy can do what thousands of the big rich do gooders will never even try. I may never be successful in my endeavours but at least I can say I tried and gave it my best shot, of course authority would much prefer to see me ran over by a bus because I'm just a thorn in their side. I just hope they are not holding their breath 'cos I just ain't going anywhere.

Chas93101
Chas93101

Apparently they decide that one is incompetent to consent based on, if one can not appreciate the risk vs. opposed benefits. If one wants ECT then they are considered compartment to consent, if one does not then tat is evidence that they don't know what is "good" for them as considered by those that have a financial interest in administering ECT.

Its the old witch hunters technique. If the accused admits to being a witch they are fried and if the accused denies being a witch, the denial is evidence that they are a witch, and are fried.

Martin Taniane
Martin Taniane

Psychiatry as a whole is a false science and is based on deception. It is used by Governments as an arm of the law for the sole purpose of social control and most certainly not for the good of any individual. They destroy lives and families and never cure any of their made up mental illnesses because they don't exist in the first place.Their Mind Altering Drugs drives one MAD and the pain and suffering imposed on vulnerable people is nothing short of EVIL. Just put the D for Doctor before evil and there you've got the Devil himself.

Alice Lillie
Alice Lillie

This is tragic. We are not living in a free country when the government can invade an innocent person's life and infringe on their rights in this manner, forcing taxpayers to pay for it.

If it could happen to Elizabeth Ellis or Ray Sanford, it could happen to you.

It has to be stopped if we are to pretend this is a free country.

Felice Debra Eliscu
Felice Debra Eliscu

Thank You for covering this story.Most people do not believe me when I tell them that this sort of thing goes on in America.

Davidwoaks
Davidwoaks

Thanks for being the very first media to cover this incredible abuse of Elizabeth Ellis. David Oaks

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