28 July, 2009

The Inalienable Human Right: The Right to BE

Katherine Spencer, Empath, on Patients’ Rights
(an excerpt from Finding Emmaus)

“Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to err in favor of patients’ rights a bit. I don’t know how much you know about the history of mental patient care, but most of what I’ve learned and all of what I’ve experienced would be enough to keep Hollywood up to their ears in horror films for a decade.

“Second only to the very young and the very old, there’s no easier target for abuse than the mentally ill. They have very few defenses and fewer advocates. Many times, particularly when they’re medicated, they have no way to express what’s happening to them, so they can’t even say something as simple as ‘Doctor, I’m having terrible side effects’ or ‘this isn’t working for me’.

Are you aware that as recently as twenty-eight ago, twenty-seven states in this country - our country! - were actively forcing surgical sterilization on Americans who were diagnosed as mentally ill?

And keep in mind: there’s no definitive test for mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. It’s all your doctor’s best guess based on the information available and accepted medical norms at the time. So, what if they were wrong? How many people were sterilized ‘accidentally’?

“Worse than that, a few of the governors of those states, though they have apologized, claim there’s no need to even consider compensation because the victims are mostly dead and, of course, there wouldn’t be any offspring to compensate! They actually said that - using the tragic results of their abuse as a means to evade responsibility. It’s despicable.

“The pendulum will probably swing way too far to this side for a while, but maybe that’s what’s needed - not to endanger anyone - even one more lost life would be a tragedy - but it’s got to stop.”

Copyright © 2009 by Pamela S. K. Glasner, All Rights Reserved

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