Elizabeth Ellis, 67, a retired Minnesota teacher, has won a partial victory. After 13 involuntary court-ordered electroshocks, including one on an outpatient basis, MFI launched a campaign for Elizabeth. In a mixed ruling, the court has granted Elizabeth her main demand: The right to say “no” to electroshock, and she hears she will be discharged soon.
Alert5 – 9 May 2011
Elizabeth Ellis Wins Right to Say “No” To Electroshock!
MFI member Elizabeth Ellis, a 67-year-old resident of Minnesota, had been court-ordered to receive electroshock (also known as ECT or electroconvulsive therapy). She received more than a dozen involuntary electroshocks by the end of 2010.
In January, MindFreedom International launched a public campaign to support Elizabeth’s right to say “no” to forced electroshock. She stayed in her home instead of reporting for an involuntary electroshock, and was locked up.
The State of Minnesota asked a court to allow more forced electroshocks of Elizabeth.
But on April 25, 2011, a judge issued a ruling saying that there would be no further forced electroshock over Elizabeth’s expressed wishes unless she is diagnosed “catatonic.”
Being able to say “no” to electroshock was Elizabeth’s main goal, and she has won that. However, the judge did rule for a variety of other involuntary psychiatric interventions such as forced psychiatric drugging.
Elizabeth has also been told she should be discharged, perhaps as early as next week.
For more information, including a summary of the judge’s ruling, visit:
Thank you to all who supported and advocated for Elizabeth. This victory is proof that there is strength in numbers!
The ruling is also a sign that the judge paid attention to the USA Food & Drug Administration hearing in January which recommended to the FDA that electroshock finally be investigated for safety and efficacy, after 70 years of essentially no regulation or oversight. The panel also made an exception for “catatonia.”
Said David Oaks, director of MFI, “The USA government should listen the judge’s logic here. Since the FDA panel said electroshock had problems with safety and efficacy, then ‘no should mean no’ to electroshock. The US should immediately halt all taxpayer payments to any electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.”
‘NO’ MEANS ‘NO’!
Ask Sen. Al Franken to stop taxpayer funding of forced electroshock in USA health care system:
Phone Sen. Al Franken and Other Officials
D.C. office: (202) 224-5641 St. Paul office: (651) 221-1016
Staff at the D.C. and St. Paul offices of US Sen. Al Franken expressed concern, and say Senator Franken is aware of Elizabeth’s plight.
Please call and e-mail civil, strong messages to Sen. Franken’s offices, and other officials.
Sample message, though your own words are best:
“Senator Franken: Please ask the USA to immediately halt taxpayer funding of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject! A judge ruled Elizabeth Ellis had this right. So should other Americans. An FDA panel recommended in January that electroshock finally be investigated for safety and effectiveness. ‘No’ should mean ‘No’ to electroshock!”
Contact US Sen. Al Franken:
Phone D.C. office: (202) 224-5641 and St. Paul office: (651) 221-1016
- Web form:
For the latest news and background info, check the “Elizabeth Campaign Gateway” here:
We Are All Elizabeth! Story of a Shock Resister.
Elizabeth is a retired teacher and school counselor, with a master’s degree in counseling, who admits to having had serious mental and emotional problems over the years.
The day her dear 69-year-old sister died of cancer this past September, Elizabeth’s daughter Sue Opp locked up Elizabeth straight from her sister’s death bed to a psychiatric facility. Ms. Opp, who works in the mental health field, told MindFreedom she felt her mother’s grief reaction was too unusual. Elizabeth reportedly was not a danger to self or others, but supposedly looked too strange, such as keeping her mouth open and eyes closed.
While in the institution, Elizabeth admits she did lose weight and refuse some meals, but says it was not a dangerous amount. She was discharged on 5 January 2011, with the “provision” that she receive involuntary outpatient electroshock. On 27 January 2011, she refused.
By coincidence, the very next day after that “sit in” at her own home, a Food & Drug Administration panel voted on 28 January 2011 that the ECT device is “hazardous,” and should for the first time in its more than 70 years of use in the USA be tested for safety and efficacy by the FDA.
So Elizabeth was right!
Because of the FDA panel, the US and all State governments should at least immediately freeze all funding for involuntary electroshock over the subjects’ expressed wishes, a practice most American taxpayers don’t know even they have been funding.
Instead, the court document Elizabeth received on 16 February stated that on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2011, Elizabeth’s outpatient electroshock doctor – psychiatrist Nadeem Haider with a “shock shop” in nearby Fargo, North Dakota – told Elizabeth’s case manager, Kirsten Wegenast, that “she be hospitalized, and that she remain in the hospital for several months and establish a consistent maintenance ECT schedule.”
Elizabeth personally faxed these documents to MindFreedom because she knew she was at risk of more forced shock. They are available for download via the Elizabeth Campaign Gateway: http://www.mindfreedom.org/elizabeth
Perhaps because of the growing controversy, Dr. Haider also asked Ms. Wegenast – according to her report – that after Elizabeth’s discharge, a clinic other than his own,preferably based in Minnesota, be found to do future outpatient electroshocks.
In the Elizabeth Campaign Gateway you can find:
- The latest court ruling in April 2011, that gives Elizabeth a partial victory: The right to say ‘no’ to forced electroshock!
- A folder of court and agency documents you can download about Elizabeth’s forced electroshock, including the court order to transport her to a psychiatric institution for saying “no” to forced electroshock.
- An interview with Elizabeth on 12 Feb. on MindFreedom Free Web Radio.
- How to join a Facebook Cause for Elizabeth.
- Learn how the day after Elizabeth and her husband Robert (pictured together above) refused to go to her outpatient electroshock… an FDA panel voted that the device is “hazardous,” and should finally be tested for safety and efficacy for the first time in 70 years!
- A blog entry by MindFreedom director David Oaks calls for the global mental health advocacy community to create a peaceful revolution like that in Egypt.
- For the latest info, check frequently at the Elizabeth Ellis Campaign Gateway.