Forced Electroshock Halted After Public Stir
After a hospital
that had been forcibly electroshocking a 66-year-old mom was deluged with
public comments, they suddenly reversed themselves. The hospital announced it was
discharging Kathleen Garrett.
in St. Louis, Missouri, had administered two electroshocks to Kathleen Garrett against her
will. The hospital had planned ten to twelve more forced electroshocks, but she will
apparently be spared. Kathleens son, Steve, said his mom is very happy to hear
she is going home.
had endured two cancer surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation in the last year. Depressed,
she voluntarily checked herself into Southpoint Hospital in St. Louis, where her doctor
informed her he would be performing electroshock therapy. Ms. Garret refused
the treatments, having undergone shock in the past. Her doctor immediately took her case
to a judge, who ruled that the doctor could perform the treatments against her will.
Steve Vance, the
womans son and primary care giver, brought an attorney to the hearing. Vance said
his mother was heavily drugged and deliberately unkempt as they wheeled her in on a gurney
to meet the judge. The judge ruled that Ms. Garret was competent, but that the forced
electroshock could go on as planned.
During the first
shock at Southpoint Hospital, the machine broke, and they transferred Ms. Garret to
The organizer of
the campaign to save Kathleen Garrett was Juli Lawrence of the group
www.ect.org, one of 88 sponsoring groups in Support Coalition International.
spokesperson John Shelton told Dendrite that the hospital was deluged
overnight by public comment opposing the electroshock. Shelton attributed the flood to the
Dendrite alert. Sixteen hours after the alert was issued, the hospital told Kathleen
Garretts son they were stopping the forced electroshock and discharging her at 2 pm
the following day. When asked why, the hospital gave Mr. Vance no explanation.
Tenet Health Care
owns DesPeres Hospital. Under its former name, National Medical Enterprises, Tenet was
convicted in the largest case of fraud, bribery and conspiracy, in US history, on June 28,
1994, largely because of psychiatric human rights violations. In addition to the record
$379 million fine, Tenet is enjoined from owning or operating psychiatric or
rehabilitation hospitals. This does not, however, enjoin them from owning general
hospitals that provide psychiatric services, such as DesPeres Hospital.
Garrett and her son had lost in a court of law. But this family won in the court of public
opinion, said Ted Chabasinksi, a survivor of forced electroshock at the age of six,
who is now an attorney and is president of the Support Coalition International board of
directors. This is all about strength in numbers.