UPDATE 5: A 31-year-old member of MindFreedom International – Geetha Rathnamala – was being held against her will in a Pittsburgh psychiatric institution, and involuntary psychiatric drugging had begun. Geetha is a registered MindFreedom Shield participant, and an alert was issued. Many members and allies helped expose the abuse going on inside the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), which is part of the enormous University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Geetha is now free, and blogging about her experience. She thanks MindFreedom International for issuing the MFI Shield Alerts, and the many people who responded globally. [Update 5 -14 Sept. 2010]
Updates to below alert:
- Geetha now has a blog about her experience locked up in Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC). To read the blog, click here:
- GEETHA IS NOW FREE as of 9 September 2010. Geetha would like to THANK MindFreedom International members and everyone who responded to the MindFreedom Shield Alerts. Your activism has been much appreciated, and also comforting to Geetha and her loved ones.
- Geetha now has a Facebook Cause page that you can join, click here:
[BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL ALERT.
THIS SHIELD CAMPAIGN IS NOW COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SPOKE OUT.]
Geetha Rathnamala, 31, is being forcibly drugged inside Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) in Pittsburgh.
SOLIDARITYNET Activation – Alert gr.1
MindFreedom member locked up in Pittsburgh psychiatric institution.
Geetha Rathnamala, 31, getting forcibly drugged.
MindFreedom member Geetha Rathnamala phoned the MindFreedom office from the 9th floor of Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic (WPIC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she has been locked up since 11 August 2010.
She said her psychiatrist, Colleen E. Bell, had prescribed the powerful neuroleptic drug Risperdol, and ordered it administered against her will. The forced drugging began on 24 August 2010.
Ms. Rathnamala has been registered on the MindFreedom Shield Registry since May. This means that when she is threatened with coerced psychiatric procedures, she may immediately activate a network of other registrants, and the general public, to speak out.
She has activated her MFI Shield Alert now, saying, “I hope that people will speak up on my behalf and make them see reason!”
Geetha is a survivor of forced psychiatric prcoedures from three years ago, and found this highly traumatic. She said, “I’ve learned that you can’t force people to be well. When you cage them up and force them to be ‘well,’ you cause more harm than good.”
* * * MFI SHIELD ALERT ACTION * * *
PLEASE keep all complaint messages civil and peaceful — though strong — to follow MindFreedom guidelines.
CONTACT: Governor of Pennsylvania, Edward G. Rendell.
You will find contact info, including link to an easy web form (note their web site is slow, be patient or try later) here:
If the web site is too slow, use this e-mail address:
Sample message (your own words are best):
“Please urgently investigate a report from MindFreedom International that a psychiatric facility in your state is unfairly holding a woman against her will, and forcing her to take a psychiatric drug. Name: Geetha Rathnamala. Location: Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Please look into this, and support the human rights of Geetha Rathnamala.”
- If possible, please e-mail a COPY of your message to Geetha and her suppoerters at firstname.lastname@example.org, and to MindFreedom at . These comments may be shared with the public.
- Please FORWARD this alert to all concerned people on and off Internet.
- Please also COMPLAIN to Jeffrey Romoff, President & CEO of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the umbrella entity for WPIC. Complain via his Office of Ethics at: .
- EMAIL David A. Lewis, M.D., Medical Director of WPIC, at or phone at 412-624-9910.
- EMAIL to Dr. Michael Travis, WPIC Residency Program Director, to ask him to investigate alleged forced drugging by his resident Dr. Bell at:
- Please leave a PHONE MESSAGE at WPIC at 412-624-1000 extension 5 for Claudia Roth, PhD (President of WPIC).
Statement from Rajit Kishor Patel — Geetha’s boyfriend:
“Geetha is being held there against her will, and there is no valid reason. Her 302 form says something along the lines ‘that she was wearing stickers on her head and attempted to leave the building and got upset when they wouldn’t let her out’.
“She has been highly cooperative working with the staff and the doctors, and she is in a state where she clearly poses no threat to herself or anyone else. Still, they’re really pushing for her to take medications, but she has strongly declined, while still maintaining a cooperative attitude. Now they’ve initiated the process to have her forcefully medicated!
“She was forcefully medicated 3 years ago… it not only took time to cleanse/heal physically, but she still holds pain/memory from the last experience. Something needs to happen to stop this. Even, if they’re not letting her out… they cannot go through with this forceful medication…
“I do not know what I can do. She really wants me to get in touch with media and lawyers, but I have no experience and little understanding of how this all works. She’s sticking very firm to the principle, that she hasn’t done anything that warrants detainment and especially forceful medication.
“She’s very sharp, has a clear understanding of what’s happening, and would be able to explain her situation better. She had initiated a lawsuit, which is still in progress, from her incident three years ago. However, right now, she’s cut off from access to the outside world, and is begging to get some help. I am saddened, because she is such a kind and caring person, but has maintained a strong will…
“Still, I think she may be starting to lose hope in her situation as there is no change.”
Geetha alleges that her psychiatrist, Dr. Colleen Bell, had two psychiatrists sign off on her forced psychiatric drug order: Gaurav Gandotra, MD and Charles Kahn, MD.
Geetha says that her religious beliefs — Hinduism and Buddhism — should allow her to be free of all drugs. Geetha was born in India, moved from there at the age of 9, and self-identifies with the culture and language there.
THE ABOVE is based on the initial MFI Shield activation alert — [named gr.1] — sent to the MFI SOLIDARITYNET.
Discussion about Geetha’s situation will be on the MindFreedom Shield discussion list, which current MindFreedom members may join at:
For more information about MindFreedom Shield and MindFreedom International see:
Join and support MindFreedom here:
PLEASE FORWARD THIS ALERT