Victory! Joan T. is Free of ECT.!

News: MindFreedom Update - 5 February 2004

No More Forced Electroshock for 60-Year-Old New York Woman.

Attorney Says Joan "Expressed Delight!"

Today, 5 Feb., attorney Dennis Feld announced that his client Joan T. is free from any further electroshock, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or E.C.T.

Less than two months ago, on 11 Dec., MindFreedom announced a campaign to ask Gov. George Pataki to stop the forced electroshock of Joan T., who is 60 years old.

The State of New York's Pilgrim Psychiatric Center had administered 180 weekly involuntary electroshocks to Joan T., and was asking the court to let them give 52 more -- another year's worth of forced shock -- over Joan T.'s clear and repeated objections.

Attorney Dennis Feld from Mental Hygiene Legal Service went to court for Joan T. MindFreedom helped locate expert witnesses, and alert the public.

Mr. Feld announced today that Joan T. had reached an agreement with Pilgrim that they would not give her any more forced shock. One argument: A break in the electroshock did not result in the rapid and dangerous decline that the State of New York had predicted.

Electroshock involves running an electrical current through the brain of a subject.

The victory letter from Mr. Feld thanking those who assisted his client is below. Mr. Feld said, "timely assistance and support... likely saved the mind and perhaps the life of Joan T."

David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom, said, "Mr. Feld defends forced shock cases like he does a death penalty case, and he ought to be deeply thanked. But this is about more than a court of law. Whenever the court of public opinion finds out about forced electroshock, we see that 99 percent of the public passionately supports freedom. Forced electroshock is torture and ought to end today!"

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BELOW is thank you letter today from attorney Dennis Feld:

Dennis Feld
State of New York Mental Hygiene Legal Service
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court
Second Judicial Department

Re: Joan T.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Kim Darrow and I wish to inform you that the forced shock case of Matter of Joan T., has been favorably resolved by Pilgrim Psychiatric Center having agreed in a written Stipulation filed with the Appellate Division, Second Department, not to enforce the Order of Suffolk County Supreme Court which granted the state hospital the authority to administer 52 shock treatments to Joan T.

As you know, Joan T. had already endured 180 shocks in the past 3 years. Pilgrim had argued before Supreme Court that Joan T. needed this course of maintenance shock in order to control her behavior and maintain her fragile mental state. The state had asserted that Joan T. would probably need maintenance shock for the rest of her life on a once a week basis and asked the hearing court to accept the proposed 52 shocks as a narrowly tailored treatment plan.

If you recall we obtained a stay of the Supreme Court Order pending the outcome of the appeal. It was during this stay that Pilgrim Psychiatric Center realized that its predictions that Joan T.'s condition would rapidly and dangerously decline without weekly ECT were in serious error. We further believe that it was made clear to Pilgrim from the brief we filed with the Appellate Division that much more harm will be done this patient than good if they follow this course of weekly ECT.

The case was to be argued on February 17, 2004 but the appeal now has been withdrawn based on the above stipulation. Your timely assistance and support helped bring about this ultimate result and in our opinion, likely saved the mind and perhaps the life of Joan T. Indeed, our attorney assigned to Joan T.'s unit reports that Joan T. expressed delight when told she no longer will be subjected to shock.

Once again, thank you for all your assistance.

Dennis Feld

News release by:
MindFreedom Support Coalition International.
United Action for Human Rights.

"Today, psychologists have a favorite work and that word is 'maladjusted.' The salvation of the world lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.