This morning, 13 May 2009, Ray Sandford was scheduled to receive another involuntary, outpatient, maintenance electroshock in Minnesota. [UPDATE: REPRIEVE!}

Ray Sandford received another involuntary outpatient electroshock in Minnesota.

Update: Last minute reprieve for Ray! His forced shock was stopped at last minute! See Alert #20, click here.

13 May 2009

Ray Scheduled Today for Another Surprise Forced Electroshock

Ray Says, “I am the one living this nightmare!”

Ray Sandford phoned our MindFreedom office yesterday morning with some very bad news.

Ray was told by staff at his assisted living facility in Minnesota that he will be escorted for another forced electroshock this morning, Wednesday, 13 May 2009.

Today’s forced electroshock is especially surprising and devastating, because Ray had felt he was winning, and had even declared a “guarded victory” after his last shock, 15 April 2009.

Those of you following Ray’s campaign know that in this past month there have been quite a few developments because Ray’s campaign is winning international attention:

  • Ray’s psychiatrist, Dean K. Knudson, who has been ordering the forced shock, at this point every 30 days, has apparently said he wants to quit as Ray’s psychiatrist because of public pressure.
  • Ray’s “general guardian,” Lutheran Social Service (LSS), who have opposed and blocked Ray’s campaign, have also apparently told the court they wish to “resign” as guardians, too.
  • Friends of Ray quickly found a new psychiatrist more sympathetic to Ray’s human rights, but LSS apparently cancelled a scheduled appointment with that new psychiatrist that was set for last week, Monday, 4 May 2009.
  • LSS claimed they cancelled the meeting with Ray’s new psychiatrist because they wanted Ray’s mother Marilyn present for the appointment, even though Mrs. Sandford was out of the state at the time, and had said in writing she wanted Ray to see the new psychiatrist. LSS apparently refused to reschedule Ray to see a new psychiatrist.
  • Meanwhile, because of MindFreedom protests in Minnesota, the Associated Press picked up Ray’s story and Ray’s campaign is currently on the national wire services.

For links to the AP story and other info about Ray see:

Despite all of these developments, without a new psychiatrist stepping in, a nightmare scenario is now unfolding.

As Ray said today, “And I am the one living this nightmare!”

We need to get out this alert now, so I can only briefly say to all of Ray’s supporters:

Never give up. Never ever give up!!

Let us resist this forced electroshock, and all psychiatric human rights violations.

Let us all witness — and never forget — the incredible brutality being forced on Ray, over his wishes and the wishes of his family, even though he has been living peacefully out in the community in his own home.

Those of us planning to protest this Sunday, 17 May 2009, at 1 pm and on Monday, 18 May 2009 at 10 am, in front of the American Psychiatric Association at Moscone Center, California, will also remember Ray. For info on those protests see:

Wherever you are, remember that “reform” of the mental health system is no where near enough.

For centuries there have been countless efforts to “reform” the mental health system that have mainly increased funding to that mental health system.

Truly, who could argue with me today, especially today, that what is needed is a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system?


In the big picture, it is time for a new strategy.

As we announced at the May Day for Ray Rally, it is time to turn off the enormous flow of money to this mental health system until atrocities like Ray’s forced electroshock are an impossibility… until empowering, humane, wholistic alternatives for mental and emotional well being are made widely available.

By coincidence, Ray’s last forced electroshock was on USA tax day, 15 April 2009. He has had more than 40.

The 15th of April was also the day of the very first forced electroshock, back in 1938 in Italy, when the subject said:

“Non una seconda! Mortifierel” which means in Italian, “Not another! It’s deadly!”

Let’s remember that story and our history — never forget, never again!

And no tax money for this mental health system, until our human rights are guaranteed!


From ECT.ORG: The Story of the First Forced Electroshock in Italy on 15 April 1938

Who invented ECT?

…Italian psychiatrist Ugo Cerlettiis [is] credited with the introduction of electroshock therapy. Cerletti, having “doubts regarding the danger of electric applications to man,” observed that hogs were subdued and calm moments before slaughter after the application of 125 volts using metallic tongs clamped to their temples.

“It occurred to me,” wrote Cerletti, “that the hogs of the slaughterhouse could furnish the most valuable material for my experiments…At this point I felt we could venture to experiment on man, and I instructed my assistants to be on the alert for the selection of a suitable subject.”

On April 15, 1938, Cerletti found his man, known only by the initials S. E. The Police Commissioner of Rome found S.E. wandering, and took him to the hospital for observation. Cerletti diagnosed S.E. with a form of schizophrenia and applied the first use of ECT, using the small dose of 80 volts for 0.2 seconds. S.E. jumped, then stiffened and fell back on the bed. Then he burst into song.

“It was quite evident to all of us that we had been using a too low voltage,” Cerletti wrote. He discussed the patient with his colleagues and decided to let S.E. rest before giving him another shock. The patient, who had – unbeknownst to Cerletti – been listening to the conversation said clearly in Italian “Not another one! It’s deadly!” [Non una seconda! Mortifierel”]

“I confess that such explicit admonition under such circumstances, and so emphatic and commanding, coming from a person whose enigmatic jargon had until then been very difficult to understand, shook my determination to carry on with the experiment. But it was just this fear of yielding to a superstitious notion that caused me to make up my mind. The electrodes were applied again, and a 110-volt discharge was applied for 0.2 seconds.” (1)

With that, electroshock therapy was born.

In an article written by Dr. Frank Ayd in 1963, Cerletti is quoted as saying “When I saw the patient’s reaction, I thought to myself: This ought to be abolished! Ever since I have looked forward to the time when another treatment would replace electroshock.” (2)


1. Frank, LR (1978). The History of Shock Treatment. San Francisco.

2. Ayd, F.J. Jr. Guest Editorial UGO CERLETTI, M.D. (1877-1963). Psychosomatics, 4:A6-A7, 1963.




Forced electroshock has been a reality in our world since 1938. What is different today is that we are helping the world witness this atrocity. Some day we will end it, for Ray and everyone else.

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