Was Carrie Fisher’s Death ECT Related?

2016 sucked royally. The year started off with the FDA trying to down-classify shock machines to class II when they thought no one was looking.

Then the horrible presidential election ending with Donald Trump as the victor.

The human rights abomination known as the Murphy bill was enthusiastically passed.

Beloved celebrities like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Prince have passed away,   followed by the Star Wars icon, Carrie Fisher, who died this week after suffering a heart attack.

I have mixed feelings about The world famous actress. I’m not a Star Wars fan so I don’t have a rabid fanaticism for her or other cast members.

As a shock survivor, I empathize with her desperation to control her depression that led to drugs and then ECT.

‘I was getting medication that medication could not handle. It feels like my brain gets moored down in cement and it kind of blows that apart. You can move on from whatever feelings you cannot resolve through therapy and medications.’

-Carrie Fisher, Oprah interview via Daily Mail.com

I can relate to her promotion of it because I felt strongly about it too. That is before I fully understood ECT and its horrific effects outside of my adolescent, psychiatric brainwashing.

I sounded very much like she did when she spoke to Oprah about it. How it was different now. Safer. Helpful.

In interviews, her cognitive impairments are quite obvious though she doesn’t seem to be aware of them which is heartbreaking.

She was duped like the rest of us.

At the same time, I have been exasperated by her ECT promotion. Her massive fame put her in a highly influential position. For those of us trying to educate people the true nature of electroshock and advocate for recognition, protection, and rehabilitation for those injured and cast aside by their doctors and society, she caused problems, though unintentionally. Ultimately, she was a victim and an unwitting pawn in a larger game.

Despite the damage her shock promotion caused, I never wished her any harm.

Her sudden death scares me, which brings me to an issue that has less to do with Carrie and more to do with the risks of ECT.

Risks and death rates are drastically downplayed in consent forms and the media. What most people don’t know is that there has been great efforts to prevent or hinder data collection on ECT-related deaths.

“Furthermore, the APA consent form drastically underestimates mortality associated with ECT by stating a risk of 1 in 10,000, whereas the average of numerous studies indicated a tenfold higher rate of death than suggested by the APA.”

Dr. Daniel Fisher presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Neurological Devices Panel examining the reclassification of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) devices on January 27, 2011.

Texas was one state who requires deaths to be reported after up to 12 days following ECT. What do results look like with this lengthier follow-up?

More ECT-related deaths. Much more dramatic numbers than the excessively conservative 1- 10,000 in consent forms!

Depending on the age group, it can be as few as  1-200!

This is just a sample of a near two-week time frame. Who knows how many other deaths could be attributed months or years later?

Heart attacks are one of the many ECT-related death causes.

I recently learned that acquaintance’s dad was subjected to ECT and died in his 50’s from a heart attack that was attributed to the shock treatments he had years before.

I want to briefly focus on Carrie Fisher’s Oprah interview where she talked about how ECT is different from old electroshock because they put you under anesthesia.

“They put you to sleep and give you a medication so there is no convulsions …”

~Carrie Fisher, Oprah Inteview

Rather than get into a lengthy explanation about the problems with that common statement of how modified ECT is better, (it’s not, read Dr. Peter Sterling’s entire article linked below) I just want to point out one important fact that I never new before agreeing to ECT and I wonder if Carrie did either: the anesthesia and muscle relaxants offer zero protection for the massive blood pressure increase caused by electrocuting a person into a grand mal seizure. I recently read an in-depth piece about the effect of ECT by Doctor Peter Sterling, via ect.org. I encourage anyone to read the whole article, but below are the quotes relevant to the blood pressure issue:

“Accompanying the convulsion, there is a tremendous rise in blood pressure: changes in arterial pressure from 80mm Hg to 220mm Hg, or almost 200%, have been recorded (Plum, et al, 1968). This overall response resembles the “grand mal” seizure that occurs in epilepsy…

Thus, the later modifications of ECT can relieve the threat of cerebral anoxia, but not the threat of high pressure, bleeding, loss of blood-brain barrier, or edema

… In accomplishing such massive increases in blood flow, the automatic mechanisms that normally regulate cerebral blood flow are overwhelmed. For the duration of the seizure and for sometime following it, blood flow to the brain becomes like that of must other tissues in the body — proportional to the arterial pressure forcing the blood through the vessels. These changes accompanying ECT are not modified by the administration of anesthetic, paralytic drugs or oxygen (Plum, et al., 1968; Posner, et al., 1969).

~Dr. Peter Sterling, Ph.D., Testimony Prepared for the Standing Committee on Mental Health of the Assembly of the State of New York, October 5, 1978.

Looking at the physiologic effects of electroshock I have to wonder, was Carrie Fisher’s heart attack in part from her many medically induced seizures? What role did all the pharmaceuticals she took play in her death?

Even though I stopped ECT and drugs ten years ago, am I destined for the same fate in 30 years?

All I can think right now is #fuck2016 !

References

BBC. (2016, December 27). Carrie Fisher, Star Wars actress, dies aged 60 – BBC News. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38446753?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook

Boodman, S. J. (1996, September 24). SHOCK THERAPY: IT’S BACK – The Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1996/09/24/shock-therapy-its-back/35a22683-a87d-4946-81a6-cabf1bb5a37b/?utm_term=.ed4a03e04218

Fisher, D. (2011, January 27). Dr. Daniel Fisher on ECT | Psych Central. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/dr-daniel-fisher-on-ect/

Frank, L. R.Retrieved from http://endofshock.com/101i%20brochure%20on%20deaths%203-29.pdf

Sterling, P. (1978, October 5). Brain Damage and Memory Loss From ECT. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/testimony.html

Thompson, J. (2011, February). Carrie Fisher confesses to Oprah that she has regular electric shock therapy to help her battle depression | Daily Mail Online. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1357601/Carrie-Fisher-confesses-Oprah-regular-electric-shock-therapy-help-battle-depression.html

Tracy, A. B. (2016, December 12). UPDATE: CARRIE FISHER DEAD AT 60 – ANTIDEPRESSANTS PLUS ???: Carrie Fisher Suffers Massive Heart Attack on Airplane – INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR DRUG AWARENESS. Retrieved December 28, 2016, from http://www.drugawareness.org/antidepressants-plus-carrie-fisher-suffers-massive-heart-attack-on-airplane/

ECT Survivor Speaks Out Against the Procedure

Doctor and ECT survivor Sue Cunliffe has been interviewed on various radio and video programs this year and has recently added another appearance.

Check out Sue Cunliffe’s other interview: BBC Hereford & Worcester – Elliott and Toni at Breakfast, A Herefordshire woman’s experience of electroconvulsive therapy, and Dean Ryan on referees

TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Footage of the modified ECT procedure, conscious man convulsing and side-effects discussion.

I was greeted with a traumatic surprise at this videos opening footage of a patient receiving ECT. The psychiatrist and aids in the video were the first to assure me of ECT’s safety before repeatedly damaging my brain.

My trauma aside, I was also surprised at the mention of the increased seizure threshold. Seizures are catastrophic events the body works hard to prevent so over time, shock doctors have to use more electricity to induce them. This was one of the many vital pieces of information I was never given and  I have only ever seen mentioned by people who speak against ECT. It is doubtful it is ever included in consent forms or discussed with patients or family members. If it is, it is most likely downplayed.

As for ECT journalism, If you’re not familiar with electroshock’s media history, it is almost always favorably biased to the point of being promotional. Anything other than glowing reports with a mumbled mention of a few bad outcomes are practically unheard of.

This video does repeat many of the same unoriginal, recycled ideas and statements from past ECT articles:

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest reference
  2. People believe ECT is barbaric
  3. ECT ‘worked’ for this person, but doctors don’t know why (Not true! See my video, Brain Damage Therapy)

That said, there is a refreshing aspect of this video and other media Sue Cunliffe has participated in–there’s less bias towards ECT and provides more time to critical views and negative experiences.

The journalist mentions the bizarre thought process that went into the creation of ECT and also interviewing John Read, Australian psychology professor, and writer, about psychiatry’s ‘new and improved ECT,’ claim. John had also written several important articles about the obscene use of  forced ECT in the Garth Daniels case this last year.

There was also a critical look at the  Royal College of Psychiatrists data on how many patients they claim are injured (1 in 10 versus more likely projections of 1 in 5).

My hope is that harder hitting, less biased news stories will become the norm and psychiatry will no longer get a free pass in the public arena.

 

 

Spot a typo? Tell me about it at aftershockrecovery (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you 🙂

 

Cardiologist Sues His Psychiatrist for Millions After Receiving Brain Damaging Electroshock

Bob Kerrey (1).jpg

I’m impressed to see an ECT lawsuit make it to trial and receive so much media attention.

I think a major factor is Shaul Dadi has elevated social status as a doctor who only recently suffered severe emotional distress. It’s much harder to paint someone of his stature as a delusional, unstable nutjob who tries to blame his mental health issues on ‘imaginary brain damage’ — the standard method for discrediting shock survivors. Few of us have such an advantage.

That said, I’m grateful that some survivors have a shot at justice. Shaul Dadi’s losses are devastating. His wife’s losses are devastating. For their sake and the sake of countless shock survivors who will never have their day in court,  I hope the Dadi’s win this lawsuit.

Read the full article here.

Cardiologist Brain Damaged by ECT Denied Justice

A few weeks back I wrote about Dadi, a former cardiologist who was suing his psychiatrist for millions of dollars in damages for severe cognitive impairment Dadi suffered after a series of  ECT treatments.

white capped text on dark grey background reads “I HAD A VERY GOOD MEMORY BEFORE. I PRACTICED MEDICINE. I HAD THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS. I LOST IT ALL,” HE SAID. “THE MEMORY LOSS. THE ISOLATION I FEEL BECAUSE OF MY INABILITY TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS. THE INABILITY TO DRIVE. I THINK THE PROCEDURE CAUSED BRAIN DAMAGE AND I FEEL IT. EVERY DAY. EVERY DAY.” Dr. Shaul Dadi

“Instead of respecting all these ‘No, no, no, no,’ [from Dadi]. . . Dr. Dadi, with no written consent, goes for electroshock therapy,' La Vista said, [And] it doesn’t matter that there’s no written consent, because the oral consent is no good, either.'"

After a twelve day trial and  nearly four hours of jury deliberation, a devastating verdict was delivered to Dadi and his wife.

The psychiatrist that damaged his brain was cleared of all charges. He will continue to shock away people’s intelligence, memories, and abilities. If they are fortunate enough to have the resources to their grievances to court, a jury of their peers is sure to f#$% things up and the world continues on in blissful ignorance about the true abuses and hazards of electroshock.

 Read the full story here.

The shock machine manufacturers and the psychiatric industry remain completely unscathed by all of this.

Dadi is not the first and will not be the last shock survivor to get screwed over by our legal system.

This is a state of shock survivor lawsuits.

 

All About Brain Damage Therapy

TRIGGER WARNINGS: GENERAL DISCUSSION ABOUT ECT PROCEDURE, SIDE EFFECTS ETC. I’ve chosen pretty benign imagery so not too much to worry about there.

Here is my latest video where I do a parody ECT promo calling it what it is: brain damage therapy.

Enjoy!

 

Mental Survival

A while back I shared the story of a delightful man, Oliver Swingler. (If you missed it you can read his story here and one of his poems here.)

I have some exciting news! Oliver has recently had a collection of his powerful writing published!

From Amazon:

oliver book cover_
Mental Survival

Description

Mental Survival is a collection of articles, personal experiences, poems and songs, mostly centred around the theme of mental health. The writer draws on a wealth of experience to focus on psychiatry and counselling, the side effect of drugs and ECT, stigma and abuse, shedding light on much that is wrong with attitudes and care for the increasing numbers of people suffering debilitating mental distress. He also shows that despite an often daily battle against suicidal thoughts and chronic mood swings, it is possible to have a rewarding life, with moments of caring companionship, mostly winning the struggle to maintain a positive attitude and self-respect.

About the Author

Oliver Swingler was born 10th March 1948, and is currently actively retired despite physical disability and being a mental health survivor for 55 years. His working career has included 37 f different jobs, from factory labourer to Customer Services Supervisor, Sales Manager to Hospital Porter, Shop Assistant to Volunteer Co-ordinator, barman to Adult Education Lecturer – and over the years he’s done a variety of voluntary work, including VSO on island of St Helena, working with people recovering from head injuries, housing advisor with a Shelter Housing Aid Centre. Apart from 19 years semi-retreat from the world in the Emin esoteric cult, Oliver has been an active campaigner on a variety of issues, a student Socialist Society Chair, NUPE Shop Steward, Chair of Lifeboat mental health co-operative, and two Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations. As well as writing songs for a left/green choir, he’s most recently been active against fracking and global warming, as part of White Ribbon Campaign anti-violence against women, seeking justice for families of victims of the DWP, Atos, Maximus, Capita, and most recently re-joined the Labour Party after 50 years absence to support Jeremy Corbyn. A believer in social housing, Oliver has lived in a council flat in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for 26 years; he’s divorced and has one son.

Seeing his long list of accomplishments is such an encouragement– one can truly live a meaningful, successful life following iatrogenic brain damage, trauma and deep, painful, personal struggles.

Thank you for persevering Oliver, and showing the world what is possible, regardelss the circumstances 🙂

You can buy his wonderful work here

All royalties go to Newcastle Launchpad service user survivor/group.

 

 

Read Peter Breggin’s First Medical ECT Book for Free

I’ve started collecting old electroshock books before they disappear and/or their prices skyrocket. Last year  I bought a copy  Electro-shock and its Brain-Disabling Effects, originally published in 1979.

This book is a vital read. It shows how far back shock induced brain damaged evidence was available, how this information was softened, skewed or ignored by the industry, provides patient accounts, detailed descriptions of physical and cognitive effects and its wealth of citations serves an additional research resource.


Recently I was poking around Peter Breggin’s ECT Resource Center and found that he made the complete book available free via PDF–yay!

Even though I already own the book, it’s hard for me to process because it’s highly technical and  I struggle with reading and retaining new info after ECT wrecked my brain.

But with a PDF copy, I can run it through my screen reader and can easily highlight and review points I want to remember.

You can download the PDF here.

And if have the same reading/retaining troubles I do and are interested in using assistive technology, check out VoiceDream.

It’s the best screen reader I’ve ever used. It’s easy to add content, there’s a ton of realistic voices to choose from, and the app is customizable.