This morning, 13 May 2009, Ray Sandford was scheduled to receive another involuntary, outpatient, maintenance electroshock in Minnesota. He was escorted all the way to Mercy Hospital. He was prepped. And then literally at the last minute a psychiatrist told Ray his forced shock would be “postponed.” We have another chance to help Ray find another psychiatrist. [updated 26 May]

Ray Sandford got a reprieve today from another involuntary outpatient electroshock in Minnesota.

UPDATE 26 May 2009 to below alert: The main weekly newspaper in Twin Cities — City Pages — has a front page cover story on Ray Sandford that brings the reader along on Ray’s 15 April forced electroshock, and on the below 13 May trip to the hospital where Ray came within minutes of a forced electroshock. To read the City Pages article click here.

Ray Alert #20 – 13 May 2009

Ray says, “I am happy!”

At Last Moment, Ray Sandford’s Forced Electroshock Today “Postponed”

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

Ray Sandford just phoned me at the MindFreedom office with some very good news.

His forced electroshock scheduled for this morning, Wednesday, 13 May 2009, has been postponed, literally at the last minute.

Ray said, “This is an answered prayer! I got to the hospital. I was all prepped. It was about 10:30 am my time. They were ready to go with the electroshock. A psychiatrist sat down with me and said, ‘We’re going to postpone this.'”

No reason for the postponement was given by the psychiatrist, so it’s impossible to say why for sure.

But the MindFreedom office knows quite a few people were taking urgent action after Ray found out yesterday that he was scheduled to have this surprise involuntary electroshock.

Ray, a 55-year-old Minnesota resident, has had more than 40 forced, outpatient, ongoing electroshocks, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. An international “Ray Campaign” is winning public attention and building momentum.

A number of people were making last minute phone calls yesterday and even early this morning to try to head off Ray’s forced electroshock, including phoning the ECT ward itself, and the president and administrator of Mercy Hospital, Tom O’Connor. Says Ray, “My mom was on the phone all day yesterday trying to stop this.”

Early this morning I phoned the shock ward and Mr. O’Connor myself to make sure they were aware of all of the legal and public controversy. As I put it in my call, “Forced electroshock has been going on since 1938. What is different this morning is that whole the world is watching.”

Ray has a personal explanation for this miracle: “I had a lot of people praying for me.”

Ray has this message for all his supporters today: “I just want to say thank you. I am happy. I’m tired and I’m going to rest now.”

But the rest of us cannot rest for long. Now more than ever Ray needs to find a replacement to the psychiatrist who has been ordering Ray’s forced electroshocks, Dean K. Knudson. Dr. Knudson has reportedly stated he wishes to quit as Ray’s psychiatrist because of all the public pressure.

Unfortunately, Ray’s general guardians — Lutheran Social Service — apparently blocked Ray’s 4 May intake meeting with a potentially new psychiatrist who may be more sympathetic to Ray’s human rights. Meanwhile, LSS has also stated to the court that they wish to “resign” as Ray’s general guardians, apparently because of the public controversy.

For more info on the Ray Campaign — including alerts, Frequently Asked Question, Ray Blog, the new Associated Press article, YouTube video and more — see:

It looks like protesters will have another “guarded victory” to celebrate when we have a “Festival of Resistance” in front of the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting this Sunday, 17 May 2009, 1 pm, in front of Moscone Center in San Francisco.

I especially hope those in California make a special effort to join me, MindFreedom and California Network of Mental Health Clients — co-sponsors of the protest — in celebrating our “creative maladjustment” there. All are invited.

For me a key is unity!

For more info about protesting American Psychiatric Association go to:

Please spread Ray’s very good news to all supportive people, on and off Internet.

And thank you everyone — keep it up!

– end of alert #20 –


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Please forward this alert to all supportive people on and off the Internet, now!


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