Psych Crime Reporter

July 28, 2014

St. Paul’s Hospital (Vancouver) attempts to play down stabbings committed by their of their discharged patients

Filed under: inpatient treatment,involuntary commitment,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:26 am

VANCOUVER — St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is defending its record for treating psychiatric cases, even though three recently discharged patients have been arrested for violent crimes in the last year.

The downtown hospital released recommendations Thursday from an internal review that was launched after 35-year-old Nicholas Osuteye of Alberta was charged with three counts of attempted murder for his alleged attacks on women aged 63, 79 and 87 last December. He had seen emergency room doctors at St. Paul’s two days earlier after asking police for help.

The latest review follows a more sweeping, independent report prompted by attempted-murder charges against Mohamed Amer, who allegedly stabbed a 71-year-old man in a café on Feb. 21, 2012. The homeless man, 30 at the time, had been taken to St. Paul’s by police for assessment under the Mental Health Act twice that day, but was released both times.

Then in January of this year, a stabbing spree in a West End apartment building resulted in French national Jerome Bonneric, 33, being charged with 12 counts of assault. Bonneric’s lawyer has said his client suffers from mental health problems and had been to St. Paul’s shortly before the attack.

But Dr. Maria Corral, head of psychiatry at St. Paul’s, said the hospital has far more success stories than tragic ones.

“There are many ways to treat psychiatric illness and mental illness problems,” she said in an interview. “By far the most common and effective is to treat them in the community by outpatient means. We had 4,500 psychiatric patients (through the emergency department last year) … the majority of those patients are managing very well in the community as our neighbours, our friends, our brothers, our mothers.”

She emphasized that hospital staff will hold anyone — even against their will — if they are considered a threat to themselves or others. St. Paul’s has 60 beds in its psychiatric ward and a four-bed secure observation unit in the emergency department.

The hospital serves Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and a larger than average number of people who have mental health problems, drug addiction, low incomes and inadequate housing.

“I want to assure the public that I’m very confident in our treatment team and in the processes we have in place to deliver safe psychiatric care to all the patients who visit St. Paul’s,” Corral insisted.

But Darrell Burnham, executive director of Coast Mental Health, says that St. Paul’s has been trying to cope with a flood of psychiatric patients for years and there aren’t enough places for discharged patients to go.

“I think it’s safe to say their emergency ward is overwhelmed with the number of mental health crises it sees on a daily basis and this has been going on for many years, at least 12. They’re in the unenviable position of deciding who is the most in need today … Every once in a while, despite their best efforts, they’re going to make that call wrong.”

Coast Mental Health is a not-for-profit charity that runs group homes and supported living apartments for about 800 people in Vancouver. While more spaces are being created for mentally ill people to get help from health and support workers outside of hospitals, there still aren’t enough, said Burnham.

“It’s because Vancouver is the end of the road and it’s also because people’s living situations are less supported. There are a lot of folks coming out of SROs (single-room occupancy hotels) and shelters and literally off the street … If you’re discharging someone to a loving family to care for them that’s far better from a hospital point of view rather than discharging them to a shelter or literally to nowhere.”

All of the accused are in custody awaiting trial and no one was killed in any of the incidents.

At least one of the women beaten in December is still in hospital, as is one of the victims from the Jan. 31 stabbings, according to Vancouver police department spokesman, Const. Brian Montague.

Source: Erin Ellis, “St. Paul’s Hospital defends record after three discharged psychiatric patients arrested for violence,” Vancouver Sun, March 1, 2013.

August 2, 2013

Supreme Court clarifies standard to force drug people under involuntary commitment

A woman deemed mentally ill refused to take psychotropic drugs as ordered. Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court clarified the county’s burden to prove a person’s incompetence to refuse drugs, siding with the woman.

Delusions, paranoia, and other symptoms of mental illness plagued Melanie, a 25-year-old Appleton woman, before the Outagamie County Circuit Court found probable cause to commit her involuntarily for outpatient treatment and medication.

The circuit court concluded, after hearing evaluations from doctors, that she was incompetent to refuse medication. Although Melanie agreed to be medicated for six months, the county petitioned for an extension for another year.

Doctors prescribed Seroquel and Lorazepam for anxiety, as well as Celexa, an anti-depressant. But Melanie stopped taking Celexa. At extension hearings, the county again argued that Melanie was incompetent to refuse medication and treatment.

Under Wis. Stat. section 51.61(1)(g)(4), a person can be incompetent to refuse medication if “the individual is substantially incapable of applying an understanding of the advantages, disadvantages and alternatives to his or her mental illness … in order to make an informed choice as to whether to accept or refuse medication or treatment.”

The circuit court ordered Melanie to keep taking prescribed drugs under the outpatient treatment plan for another year, noting the county met its burden by “clear greater weight of the evidence.” Melanie appealed. She said the county failed to meet its burden to prove that she was incompetent to refuse medication.

The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court’s involuntary medication order. But in Melanie L. v. Outagamie County, 2013 WI 67 (July 11, 2013), a Wisconsin Supreme Court majority (4-3) reversed, while clarifying the statutory burden of proof.

First, the majority said the circuit court misstated the burden of proof as “clear greater weight of the evidence.” Second, it ruled the county did not meet its burden.

“[W]e apply the facts of Melanie’s case to the statute and conclude that the County failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Melanie was incompetent to refuse medication,” wrote Justice David Prosser for the majority.

The majority said a request to force medication on an individual triggers significant liberty interests, and a person is presumed competent and can refuse medication unless the state proves the person’s incompetence, by clear and convincing evidence.

“This is a difficult standard for a county to meet if the individual is able to express a reasonable understanding of the medication,” explained Justice Prosser, noting that Melanie expressed an understanding of the pros and cons of the medication.

The majority ruled that the county failed to rebut a presumption of competence by proving Melanie could not apply her understanding of the drugs to her own situation.

That is, the majority said the county failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that Melanie was “substantially incapable of applying” her understanding of the drugs to her own mental illness in order to decide if she should take them or not.

“[T]he result might have been different if the County had produced additional evidence in terms of additional witnesses or additional detail,” wrote Justice Prosser, noting that experts “must apply the competency standards set out in the competency statute.”


Justice Annette Ziegler, joined by Justices Michael Gableman and Patience Roggensack, concluded that the county’s evidence was sufficient to support an involuntary medication order, and the majority should have deferred to the circuit court.

“In this case, the circuit court was satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that Melanie was incompetent to refuse medication,” Justice Ziegler wrote.

The dissent argued that the majority’s opinion creates “a substantial hurdle for counties to clear” before individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others can be involuntarily medicated, meaning counties will be unable to treat those persons.

Source: Joe Forward, “Supreme Court Clarifies Standard to Force Medication on Mentally Ill Persons,” State Bar of Wisconsin, August 1, 2013.

January 25, 2013

Pig farmer sues Chinese government after being detained in psychiatric hospital

Filed under: government control,involuntary commitment,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:01 pm

A COURT in northeast China has begun to hear a case in which a farmer is suing government departments in an eastern city, claiming they forced him into psychiatric hospital.

Liu Gang, who ran a pig farm in Linyi City in Shandong Province, said he was admitted to a hospital’s mental illness unit on September 19, 2008, reported the People’s Court in Beizhen City, Liaoning Province.

Liu, a native of Beizhen, had been trying to file a complaint over the sudden deaths of his pigs following epidemic control measures by local authorities, the court heard.

Liu said he was released from the hospital on October 8, 2008, but sent there again on January 6, 2009, after asking for an “explanation” from the bureau of complaints and civil affairs over the first admission. His second stay lasted 36 days.

On Friday, the defendant and plaintiff argued whether Liu’s personal freedom was illegally restricted and whether he suffered from mental illness. Both parties agreed for Liu to take psychiatric tests.

Source: “Pig farmer sues gov’t after forced into ‘psychiatric hospital’,” Sina, January 20, 2013.

January 2, 2013

Australian mental hospital identified wrong man as escaped patient; involuntarily detains, drugs

Filed under: involuntary commitment,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:03 pm

A mental health advocate says the case of a man who was arrested and drugged after being mistaken for a patient from a Perth psychiatric hospital is not a one-off.

Police arrested the man while on lookout for an involuntary patient who left Graylands Hospital without permission.

The man was wrongly identified as the missing patient and then given an antipsychotic drug.

He had a bad reaction and was taken to hospital, where the mistake was discovered.

Western Australia’s Mental Health Minister Helen Morton says she was shocked to hear about incident.

“The policies and procedures are stringent about identifying people when they are made involuntary and when they are about to receive a Schedule 4 drug, and it would appear those policies and procedures weren’t carried out,” she said.

Mental Health Law Centre principal solicitor Sandra Boulter says there were probably several errors.

“There are a series of people, there were the police, there were the admitting staff, there’s presumably the treating psychiatrist, and the Aboriginal Health Service, all of whom could possibly have identified the error,” she told AM.

“It is always the case when there is a mistake, as even an airline pilot will tell you, it is never one mistake, it is a series of errors that accumulate leading up to the big error.

“I think it is a critically important that an independent person such as an official visitor is appointed or contacted so there is independent oversight of any admission.”

Ms Boulter says this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred.

“I am certainly aware of one patient, one client of ours, who was admitted mistakenly and another two clients who were admitted on a false report where [it] was subsequently established that they did not have a psychiatric illness,” she said.

She says she it is not sure if authorities are aware of the second incident.

“I’m not sure about that,” she said.

“Our clients were unwilling to complain about what happened to them because they were fearful of being further traumatised by taking an action against the state.”

Ms Boulter says she wants to confirm that authorities are in contact with the wrongfully detained man.

Source: David Weber, “Experts concerned over arrest, drugging of wrong man,” ABC News, December 27, 2012.

October 27, 2012

China passes law to reduce psychiatric abuses

Filed under: involuntary commitment,patient abuse,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:59 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature on Friday passed a long-awaited mental health law that aims to prevent people from being involuntarily held and unnecessarily treated in psychiatric facilities — abuses that have been used against government critics and triggered public outrage.

The law standardizes mental health care services, requiring general hospitals to set up special outpatient clinics or provide counseling, and calls for the training of more doctors.

Debated for years, the law attempts to address an imbalance in Chinese society — a lack of mental health care services for a population that has grown more prosperous but also more aware of modern-day stresses and the need for treatment. Psychiatrists who helped draft and improve the legislation welcomed its passage.

“The law will protect the rights of mental patients and prevent those who don’t need treatment from being forced to receive it,” said Dr. Liu Xiehe, an 85-year-old psychiatrist based in the southwestern city of Chengdu, who drafted the first version of the law in 1985.

“Our mental health law is in line with international standards. This shows the government pays attention to the development of mental health and the protection of people’s rights in this area,” Liu told The Associated Press by phone.

Pressure has grown on the government in recent years after state media and rights activists reported cases of people forced into mental hospitals when they did not require treatment. Some were placed there by employers with whom they had wage disputes, some by their family members in fights over money, and others — usually people with grievances against officials — by police who wanted to silence them.

The law states for the first time that mental health examinations and treatment must be conducted on a voluntary basis, unless a person is considered a danger to himself or others. Only psychiatrists have the authority to commit people to hospitals for treatment, and treatment may be compulsory for patients diagnosed with a severe mental illness, according to the law.

Under the law, police still may send people for diagnosis — a common practice in many countries. Significantly, the law gives people who feel they have been unnecessarily admitted into mental health facilities the right to appeal.

Though questions remain over how the law will be enforced and whether sufficient government funding will be provided to enable the expansion of services, psychiatrists said the passage of the legislation marked a milestone

“It’s very exciting. I honestly believe this will start a new trajectory,” said Dr. Michael Phillips, a Canadian psychiatrist who has worked in China for nearly three decades and now heads a suicide research center in Shanghai.

Phillips said the biggest change for the psychiatric system is the curb on involuntary admissions. At least 80 percent of hospital admissions are compulsory, he said.

The expansive scope of the law — covering treatment, stigma prevention, admissions and other areas — made it “revolutionary,” he added.

Source: “China passes law to curb abuse of mental hospitals,” Associated Press, October 26, 2012.

August 30, 2012

Chinese government uses psychiatric hospitals to silence human rights defenders

Filed under: involuntary commitment — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:24 am

Prominent human-rights lawyer Jin Guanghong was walking down a street in Beijing one day in April 2011 when he was grabbed by several unidentified men, who threw a black hood over his head and stuffed him into the back of a car. The men, believed to be national security officers, later placed him in a psychiatric hospital where doctors tied him up, force-fed him medicine and gave him unknown injections, all against his will. When he was released about 10 days later, he had no idea about what exactly had happened to him during the frightening ordeal.

Jin’s story is just one of hundreds of thousands of similar incidents each year in China, in which people—many with no obvious mental disabilities—are locked up against their will in China’s psychiatric institutions, according to a report released today by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) titled The Darkest Corners: Abuses of Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment in China.

The report describes grim conditions and human-rights abuses in these institutions, where the patients have little hope of legal protection or redress. They are denied the right to make decisions regarding their own lives, such as medical treatment, admission, and discharge. Many are subjected to forced medical treatments, violence, and other forms of mistreatment, such as electric-shock therapy.

CHRD tells the story of Cheng Tianfu, who said he was subjected to electric shocks for refusing medication. In the report, he describes horrific treatment reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984:

“They inserted electric needles into both sides of my temples. After the power was connected, the doctor—while twisting the switch to increase the voltage—roared, ‘Don’t you dare refuse medication, don’t you dare refuse medication!’ I suddenly felt that my head was going to explode. An unspeakable pain engulfed my every nerve, every cell, and every bit of me was trembling fiercely! I stared angrily and clenched my teeth. The doctor stuffed my mouth with a stainless steel ruler wrapped in cloth to prevent me from biting my tongue off.”

“Those locked up for ‘mental disability’ are one of the most vulnerable groups in China,” said Renee Xia, international director of CHRD. “Not only are they deprived of their liberty on the basis of alleged disabilities; those who violate their rights face little legal oversight or accountability.”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which China ratified in 2008, stipulates that “persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.” However, the CHRD report said that when people with psychosocial disabilities are forcibly brought to many hospitals in China, staff ignore their will and objections, recognizing the committing party—usually family members, employers, police, or other state authorities—as the “guardians,” who are then allowed to authorize both the admittance as well as the discharge of the patient.
Chen Guoming

In July 2011, former psychiatric patient Chen Guoming carried out a protest in a Beijing park to raise awareness about China’s involuntary commitment system. Chen reenacted the experience of his family members binding him with tape and taking him against his will to a psychiatric hospital. The message on the ground reads “Anyone may be ‘made mentally ill’.” (CRLW)

According to one estimate, some 800,000 people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals in China each year, and an official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center for Mental Health says that more than 99 percent of those treated for mental illnesses (including those involuntarily committed) have not gone through legal procedures regarding the appointment of guardians.

The authors of the CHRD study went on to say that the current system of psychiatric confinement is open to significant abuse.

“Those who have the means—power and money—to either compel or pay psychiatric hospitals to detain individuals out of a desire to punish, silence, or simply get rid of them have been able to do so with impunity,” said the report. “Although people who initiate a commitment usually allege that the prospective patient suffers from psychosocial disability, there are cases in which government officials bring a “patient” to a hospital, admit that the individual is not mentally ill, and the hospital commits them anyway.”

In practice, hospitals often admit patients taken there against their will simply on the basis of an allegation made by the police, other government officials, family members, or employers that the person might have a psychosocial disability, according to the report.

“It’s usually a mixture of the hospitals’ feeling compelled by the government, which has a lot of power, and because they receive money for incarceration,” says Wang Songlian, a CHRD research coordinator. “We know of cases where the nurses say to the patient, ‘I know you’re not ill, but I have to keep you here anyway.’”

Source: Paul Mooney, “Chinese Government Institutionalizes People Against Their Will: Chinese Human-Rights Defenders,” The Daily Beast, August 22, 2012.

Wife gets husband thrown in psych ward after he refuses loan to father-in-law

Filed under: involuntary commitment — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:23 am

Chen Guoming protested in a Beijing park in July 2011 to raise awareness about involuntary commitment  to mental institutions. The message on the ground reads, “anyone may be ‘made mentally ill’.”Equality and Justice InitiativeChen Guoming protested in a Beijing park in July 2011 to raise awareness about involuntary commitment  to mental institutions. The message on the ground reads, “anyone may be ‘made mentally ill’.”

BEIJING — In February 2011, Chen Guoming, 45, a jewelry store owner in southern China’s Fujian Province, was drugged by his wife, tied up with tape and taken to a psychiatric hospital where he was committed as mentally ill.

While in hospital, much of Mr. Chen’s fortune worth about $1.3 million — in shares, gold and jewels — disappeared, according to the Procuratorate Daily, a newspaper tied to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the country’s top prosecution and investigation agency.

For 56 days, Mr. Chen was unable to get his freedom back. His wife was considered by hospital and police officials to be his legal guardian and she refused to permit his release, despite new verdicts from doctors that Mr. Chen was not mentally ill. His release finally came through the efforts of his sister, the newspaper reported.

The abuse of involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals is a hot topic in China, with cases like Mr. Chen’s gaining widespread media attention. A Hong Kong-based human rights group, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders, in a report this week called on the government to ensure that a long-awaited Mental Health Law — under discussion for over quarter of a century — comply with international norms and protect the rights of both the mentally ill and the non-mentally ill from the power of the state, but also from the power of the family to incarcerate involuntarily, under conditions that are murky at best.

In the report, “The Darkest Corners: Abuses of Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment in China,” the group says cases like Mr. Chen’s are by no means rare.

“China’s involuntary commitment system is a black hole into which citizens can be ‘disappeared’ for an indefinite period of time based on the existence or mere allegation of a psychosocial disability by family members, employers, police or other state authorities,” the group wrote. “A combination of factors — namely, a deficient legal and regulatory framework, coupled with a lack of judicial independence — is primarily to blame for this state of affairs.”

Chinese laws and regulations currently do not provide people like Mr. Chen, and dozens of others documented by the group, with the right to an independent review of their mental health status or the legality of their detention; nor is there a right to a court hearing or access to counsel, contravening the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a United Nations treaty ratified by China in 2008, the group said.

The group called on China to honor its obligations, and pointed out that a treaty committee is scheduled to visit on Sept. 18 and 19 to conduct its first review of China’s compliance.

However, the group warned that the government’s draft of the proposed Mental Health Law, released for public comment in October last year, “appears to codify the current involuntary commitment system, which violates the CRPD.”

The report also focused on persecution by the state of dissidents and petitioners for justice, whose rights it said are routinely violated.

“The current system of psychiatric confinement is also highly vulnerable to abuse,” it said. “Those who have the means — power and money — to either compel or pay psychiatric hospitals to detain individuals out of a desire to punish and silence them have been able to do so with impunity,” with individuals “taken to psychiatric hospitals to punish them after they acted in ways that irked government officials, such as petitioning higher authorities or publishing articles criticizing the government.”

While there is virtually no public debate in China on the fate of dissidents in the country’s psychiatric system, involuntary commitment of non-dissidents has become a hot topic, as reports like this one in the People’s Daily Overseas edition show. The headline translates as “China plans laws to prevent ‘being made mentally ill’.”

Mr. Chen’s problems began when he refused to lend money to his wife’s father, the report in the Procuratorate Daily said. After his release, Mr. Chen accused his wife of “intentional injury” and “illegal detention,” but the Shaowu City Public Security Bureau in Fujian refused to investigate the circumstances of his detention.

His wife’s conduct did not constitute a crime, since “Paranoid disorder is only visible to the spouse, and your wife thought you were mentally ill and had the right to take you to a psychiatric hospital,” the group quoted police as saying.

Source: Didi Kirsten Tatlow, “China Pressed to Prevent Abuse of Psychiatric Confinement,” International Herald Tribune, August 23, 2012.

August 21, 2012

Virginia psych hospital deprives ex-Marine of Constitutional and human rights over FB posts

Filed under: involuntary commitment,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:46 pm

RICHMOND, Va. — A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.

Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia’s Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening (August 16) about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In one message earlier this month according to authorities, Raub wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”

Police – acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional – took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.

A Virginia-based civil liberties group, The Rutherford Institute, dispatched one of its attorneys to the hospital to represent Raub at a hearing Monday. A judge ordered Raub detained for another month, Rutherford executive director John Whitehead said.

“For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon,” Whitehead said.

Raub’s mother, Cathleen Thomas, said by telephone that the government had overstepped its bounds.

“The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated,” she said.

Thomas said her son, who served tours as a combat engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “concerned about all the wars we’ve experienced” and believes the U.S. government was complicit in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One of his Facebook posts, she said, pictured the gaping hole in the Pentagon and asked “where’s the plane?”

Whitehead said he found nothing alarming in Raub’s social media commentaries. “The posts I read that supposedly were of concern were libertarian-type posts I see all the time,” he said.

The big concern, Whitehead said, is whether government officials are monitoring citizens’ private Facebook pages and detaining people with whom they disagree.

Dee Rybiski, an FBI spokeswoman in Richmond, said there was no Facebook snooping by her agency.

“We received quite a few complaints about what were perceived as threatening posts,” she said. “Given the circumstances with the things that have gone on in the country with some of these mass shootings, it would be horrible for law enforcement not to pay attention to complaints.”

Whitehead said some of the posts in question were made on a closed Facebook page that Raub had recently created so he questioned whether anyone from the public would have complained about them.

“Support Brandon Raub” Facebook pages have drawn significant interest, and other Internet sites had numerous comments from people outraged by the veteran’s detention.

Raub’s supporters characterized the detention as an arrest, complaining he was handcuffed and whisked away in a police cruiser without being served a warrant or read his rights. But authorities say it wasn’t an arrest because Raub doesn’t face criminal charges.

Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.

He said Raub was handcuffed because he resisted officers’ attempts to take him into custody.

Source: Larry O’Dell, “Brandon J. Raub, Former Marine, Detained After Anti-Government Facebook Postings,” Huffington Post, August 20, 2012.

May 3, 2011

Mother to sue psych hospital over sexual assault: “They failed to protect my daughter.”

Filed under: inpatient treatment,involuntary commitment,mental health — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:42 am

A teenage girl interned in a psychiatric ward was sexually abused by an 11-year-old patient and kept in the same unit with him for weeks after the attack, authorities said.

Patricia Watson, the 15-year-old girl’s mother, told how her daughter had been placed in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Hospital’s child psychiatric ward in February.

Then on a visit to the hospital on March 9, Mrs Watson was told by her daughter how she had been attacked by the boy, who sat on her as she slept, before pulling her pants and underwear down and sodomising her.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Mrs Watson said: ‘When my daughter told me what happened, I felt like a knife had pierced me in my heart.

‘The hospital failed to protect her. They failed to protect my daughter.’

When Mrs Watson approached authorities,she was told  they were aware of the attack, but it took another two weeks before the boy was removed from the ward.

Mrs Watson added: ‘She has panic attacks when she’s in her room, when she’s in the shower.

‘I feel heartbroken my daughter is still there. She should have been moved within hours.’

Mrs Watson now plans to sue the city for $20 million.

Speaking to the paper, Mrs Watson described how she coaxed the story of the attack out of her daughter.

After she noticed her daughters ‘vacant’ stare she asked: ‘Baby, what’s wrong.’

The girl then described the attack, telling her mother the boy crept into her room the night before while she was sleeping.

He straddled her back, holding her down, while he started to feel her breasts.

As he began to pull down her trousers and underwear she struggled to throw him off, but couldn’t.

She said: ‘I tried to push him off, but I couldn’t.

‘I told him to stop a lot of times, but he didn’t. He told me to shut up,’ she told prosecutors.’

Tragedy: The boy was kept on the same ward as his victim for two weeks, reports said.

Mrs Watson says her daughter is still reeling from the affects of the attack.

She said: ‘Her smile used to brighten up a room.

‘Now, I have to ask her to smile for me, and when she smiles, I can still see the pain, the hurt, the anger, the sadness.’

Mrs Watson said she did not remove her daughter from the facility because it would delay her placement in a state hospital for long term treatment.

The boy pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct on March 29 and is awaiting sentencing.

A Metropolitan Hospital spokesman said: ‘We take all such allegations seriously and the matter is under police investigation.

Source: “Girl, 15, sodomised by 11-year-old boy in psychiatric hospital and kept in same ward as attacker for TWO weeks,” Daily Mail (UK), April 25, 2011.

March 4, 2011

Two NY psychiatrists named in whistleblower cop’s $50 million involuntary commitment lawsuit

Most of the news you will read about the lawsuit filed by New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft is about how his superiors in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct had him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility because he was going to blow the whistle on them for unlawful ticket quotas and manipulated crime statistics.

What is not so much publicized is that the defendants in his $50 million lawsuit include Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and two of its psychiatrists: Dr. Isak Isakov and Dr. Lilian Aldana-Bernier.

Among the allegations against Isakov and Aldana-Bernier in Schoolcraft’s civil suit:

  • They failed to perform the proper and necessary tests to determine that plaintiff was either a “substantial risk of physical harm to himself…or to others….”

(In New York, as in most states, the criteria for being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility is that one must be shown to be a danger to himself or others by having made suicidal or homicidal threats or attempts or displayed such behavior.)

  • They unlawfully detained and involuntarily confined Schoolcraft to Jamaica Hospital for treatment without any justification, in violation of his constitutional rights.
  • They deprived Schoolcraft of his liberty, denied him his fundamental constitutional rights, publicly embarrassed and humiliated him and caused him to suffer severe emotional distress.

A psychiatrist can’t simply lock someone up in a psych ward just because another person—even an officer of the law—claims they’re “agitated” or “emotionally disturbed.”

Schoolcraft has since been vindicated in his whistleblower allegations:  The 81st Precinct came under investigation and its top commanders have all been given departmental charges and/or been transferred.

Which makes it look all the worse for psychiatrists Isakov and Aldana-Bernier.

Source: “Cop who made tapes accuses NYPD of false arrest,” Associated Press, October 9, 2010; Coleen Long, Tom Hays, “‘What is this, Russia?” Cop claims NYPD had him committed for being a whistleblower,”, October 10, 2010; Len Levitt, “Adrian Schoolcraft: Now it’s getting serious,” Huffington Post, January 31, 2011 and Rocco Parascandola, “Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct probed by NYPD for fudging stats; felonies allegedly marked as misdemeanors,” New York Daily News, February 2, 2010.

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