“A miracle,” says Ray. This morning, 28 January 2009, Ray Sandford was scheduled to receive another involuntary, outpatient, maintenance electroshock in Minnesota. Ray just called with good news. Citing physical health problems, medical staff told Ray today’s electroshock was canceled. After a check-up next week, his forced shock may be re-scheduled. In the meantime: Here’s how you can peacefully protest from anywhere via the Internet, or in Minnesota.

Ray Sandford is regularly given involuntary outpatient electroshock in Minnesota.

Ray Alert Update #12: 28 January 2009]

“It was a miracle,” says Ray.

Today’s involuntary outpatient “maintenance” electroshock for Ray Sandford for today, 28 January 2009, was postponed.

During this delay: How you may easily and peacefully protest Ray’s future forced electroshock from wherever you are.

Ray Sandford’s forced electroshock today was postponed today.

As has happened many times before, early this morning Ray was woken up in his assisted living home and escorted to a psychiatrist’s waiting room at Mercy Hospital north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As he often does, Ray complained about his physical health. In the past his complaint has not made a difference. This time it did.

A medicalstaff person told Ray his involuntary electroshock was canceled thatmorning, citing Ray’s physical health as the reason.

Ray returned home and called the MindFreedom office, saying, “It was a miracle. They were ready to go. I was sitting in the hallway where you wait. There’s a big picture of one of my former doctors on the wall that I was looking at. I was twiddling my thumbs. And someone came out and said, ‘Oh by the way you’re not going to get ECT today.’ As far as I am concerned that was a miracle. I was prepared for the worst. I am delighted.”

It’s not over yet, of course. Ray is supposed to have a check-up next week to see if his forced electroshocks may be rescheduled.

Background on today’s “miracle” [updating Alert #11]:

Ray Sandford was scheduled for another involuntary electroshock today, Wednesday, 28 January 2009, just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, all funded by taxpayer dollars.

After more than three dozen forced electroshocks, Ray knows the drill.

Last night, staff prepared by removing all of Ray’s food from his mini-fridge in his basement room in a small assisted living home called “Victory House” in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. This is because Ray is not supposed to eat for a number of hours before anesthesia is administered.

Early this morning Ray was woken up extra early, and an escort brought Ray the 15 miles north on streets near the Mississippi River to Mercy Hospital, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

Ray’s mental health workers always manage to find an escort for Ray’s forced electroshocks or psychiatrist visits.

On the other hand, a few days ago Ray said he had to miss a dental appointment that was supposed to help with his severe teeth problems, because no attendant could be found that day.

Since Ray’s campaign started, an attendant is required to accompany Ray any time he leaves his home. MindFreedom volunteers have been banned from visiting. One such visitor, a disability advocate, even had her employment threatened after Ray’s “helpers” filed a complaint with her employer for bringing Ray to a Minnesota center for independent living for people with disabilities.

Ray says that once more, the waiting room of his electroshock doctor, Bernard M. Coelho, MD, at Mercy Hospital was full with about 10 patients who Ray believes are also scheduled for electroshock. Giving multiple electroshocks on the same morning is a common practice, sometimes called a “Shock Mill,” and can be very lucrative. Mercy Hospital is owned by Allina Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

In the past, Ray has complained about various physical ailments that he felt should cancel his electroshock. “They would just bring me into Dr. Coelho’s office, and he would say I could have the electroshock anyway.”

This time Ray brought up the fact that about two weeks ago he had been brought to Regency Hospital by ambulance because of physical complaints. Lab tests said his ammonia levels were too high, and he brought this up today.

This time, Ray’s electroshock was called off.

If it had gone forward, Ray would have laid in a bed and felt an injection as anesthesia and a muscle paralyzer administered to suppress muscle writhing. Ray says Dr. Coelho would then runs electricity through Ray’s brain, inducing a convulsion.

Ray calls the MindFreedom office almost every day, including just before and just after his forced electroshocks. He says forced shock is always scary, that it’s harming his memory and ability to concentrate more and more.

Ray is asking us all to peacefully protest his ongoing forced electroshock.

The nightmare of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject has happened regularly since the very first electroshock in Italy in 1937. But now the atrocity of forced electroshock has climbed over the institutional walls, and is out in our towns and cities, in our neighborhoods and homes.

Do not let this become “normal.”

Do not wait to see your neighbor escorted out into some early winter morning for this.

Do not wait for that to be you.

MindFreedom reminds everyone that Ray’s campaign is nonviolent. Ray values his religious principles, and MindFreedom has strict nonviolence guidelines.

If you communicate with any potential opponent, please be strong but civil. Anything else can be used against Ray.

Here are a few easy ways you may protest Ray’s electroshock from wherever you are:


1) Protest to Richard Pettingill, Chief executive officer (CEO) of Allina Hospital and Clinics:

Ask that your civil verbal protest be placed in Ray Sandford’s medical record using their online web form:

Sample message (your own words are best):

“Dear Mr. Richard Pettingill:

“I request that my message be placed in the permanent medical record of your patient Ray Sandford, who states that he is receiving ongoing involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital administered by Allina psychiatrist Bernard M Coelho, MD.

“While you cannot violate the privacy of a patient, I ask that you respond in general about your policy of allowing involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.

“Whether or not you feel this is legal, it is unethical, immoral and traumatic to everyone in mental health care.

“The reason(s) I protest this forced electroshock are:

“My name and contact information: _______”

You may also try to phone Mr. Richard Pettingill’s office at 612-262-0601 or 612-262-5000.

Dr. Coelho direct phone number listed on the Allina web site is 612-264-4379. However, for a while this phone number was disconnected. If it does not work, you may try to leave him a message at the above numbers, or Mercy at 763-236-6000.

2) Bishop Mark Hanson of the Lutheran Church

While the Lutheran Church is not directly in charge of Ray’s electroshock, they are supposed to help “guard” Ray, they are supposed to care deeply about social justice, yet they are not supporting Ray’s campaign to end his forced electroshock.

The six Minnesota Synods of the “Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” [ELCA] — which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the USA — own Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN], which is Ray’s court-appointed general guardian.

ELCA and LSSMN have refused to speak out for Ray.

MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson, who leads ELCA. Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA’s Director of Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Today, Ms. Reko told MindFreedom, “Supervision is not a concept we enter into with affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency affiliates.”

Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental health, especially involuntary electroshock.

Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:

Sample message (your own words are best):

“Dear Bishop Hanson:

“Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone’s forced electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.

“Your name and contact info: ___________”

You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling (773) 380-2700, wait for an attendant.

3) Engage your local religious organizations in dialogue on human rights and mental health

Ray has given us all an opportunity to encourage our local faith-based communities to address the justice issues involved in mental health care today.

Ask that your local church, synagogue, mosque, etc. find a way to raise issues about human rights and mental health.

Those in the USA may also seek to engage in dialogue with participants and leaders in your local ELCA church, which you may easily locate here:

Please act today!

Because of today’s cancellation, MindFreedom does not know when Ray’s next scheduled electroshock may be. It could be as early as 4 February or 11 February.

Minnesota Nonviolent Protests for Ray

Several individuals and groups in Minnesota have told MindFreedom they would like to help support and attend peaceful protests on behalf of Ray in Minnesota.

Several MindFreedom members have even said they are willing to travel from out of state and from out of the country to participate in protests.

MindFreedom will broadcast more information as it is received.

How to do and learn more on the Ray Campaign

For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, to hear the NPR radio story on Ray, and read Frequently Asked Questions about the “No More Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:

To further participate in the MindFreedom campaign to support Ray, current MindFreedom members are invited to get on the very busy MindFreedom “zapback” e-mail list about electroshock, here:

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