Web Log dedicated to “No More Shock for Ray.”

Ray Sandford is a Minnesota resident who has received dozens of involuntary electroshocks (electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) over his expressed wishes. This Web Log or Blog launched in January 2009 is to help keep up with developments in the campaign.

Aug 10, 2009

Text of Ray Sandford’s Statement to Minnesota State Legislature

by David W. Oaks — last modified Aug 10, 2009 05:44 PM
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Because of Ray Sandford’s campaign against his forced electroshock, the Minnesota State Legislature is holding a public hearing today on the topic of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and individuals who are committed in the state mental health system. Ray Sandford has issued a signed statement for today’s hearing.

For many Wednesdays, Ray Sandford would have forced electroshocks, sometimes weekly, sometimes every other week, sometimes monthly.

Because of public outcry, Ray Sandford’s last forced electroshock was on 15 April 2009.

Even though the mental health system predicted he had to receive regular forced electroshocks or suffer problems, Ray has actually done better since the forced electroshocks stopped.

Below is the text for Ray’s statement about his forced shock.

To see an image of Ray’s signed statement, click here.

Ray’s statement to the Minnesota State Legislature:

“After having over 40 ECT treatments and having many ill effects, I now feel much better.

“I no longer am bothered by severe shaking hands and my memory is improving. It is wonderful not to dread the approach of Wednesday and the hateful prep time. I feel I can live a more normal life. Having ECT was one of the most traumatic times of my life!”

Ray Sandford

Please let others know about Ray’s statement above. Here’s a small web address to this blog entry:


Aug 06, 2009

Ray Sandford announced he now has a new psychiatrist

by David W. Oaks — last modified Aug 06, 2009 01:07 PM

Ray is getting closer to victory. He has phoned MindFreedom that the mental health system has approved the new psychiatrist he is seeing, and this new psychiatrist is pledged against forced electroshock.

Ray Sandford calls MindFreedom almost every day or so, always polite and consider about time.

This morning’s call had some very good news indeed.

For months Ray’s been trying to change his psychiatrist. His past psychiatrist wanted to quit because of all the publicity.

Ray’s friends found him a psychiatrist who supported Ray’s human rights to say “no” to electroshock. But at first Ray’s mental health system would not officially accept the change.

Today, Ray said it’s official: Ray’s case manager told him his new psychiatrist has been approved.

Ray is one more step closer to no forced electroshock.

His last forced electroshock was on tax day, 15 April 2009. May that always be his last electroshock.

In the meantime, there’s good news on the Minnesota state legislative front. See the below announcement about a hearing scheduled today in the state legislature. We heard from a reliable source in the legislature that this hearing is because of Ray’s campaign!

Subject: Upcoming HCHS Policy hearing

 MONDAY, August 10, 2009
 1:00 PM
 Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight
 Room: 200 State Office Building
 Chair: Rep. Paul Thissen
 Agenda: HF2386 (Hortman) Complex regional pain syndrome education and research program act — informational hearing only
 Hospital acquired infections reporting and quality improvement
 Pandemic preparedness and the H1N1 influenza virus
 Electroconvulsive therapy treatment for persons under civil commitment
 Kate Perushek – Kate.Perushek@house.mn
 Committee Administrator
 Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee
 Minnesota House of Representatives
 353A State Office Building
 (651) 296-3244

May 13, 2009

We ask the world to witness Ray Sandford’s forced electroshock.

by David W. Oaks — last modified May 13, 2009 09:14 AM

Ray is scheduled for another forced electroshock today, Wednesday, 13 May 2009.

As this is posted, Ray Sandford has apparently been brought the 15 miles north of his home to Mercy Hospital for another involuntary outpatient electroshock.

Involuntary electroshock is nothing new. It has occurred since 1938.

What is different this time is that was are asking the world to watch, as never before, as an individual — this time living in his own home — is escorted involuntarily to a procedure that can permanently harm his mind and precious memories.

Ray had hoped for a victory. Instead, as Ray put it, he is living a nightmare.

We can all at least witness this atrocity today, and let others know.

Witnessing, too, is part of nonviolent direct action.

May 12, 2009

Ray Sandford has had multiple victories this Spring: Satyagraha!

by David W. Oaks — last modified May 12, 2009 11:25 AM

Ray Sandford is among those who are most marginalized, and most disempowered in our society. Yet, he and his supporters have had a number of “wins” this Spring. Let’s look at the role of what Gandhi called “Satyagraha” in campaigns, or “truth force.”

In just the past few weeks, Ray has had a number of victories:
Ray’s “general guardians” who have dragged their feet and even opposed his campaign to say “no” to forced electroshock have abruptly gone to a judge and asked to “resign” from his case.

Ray’s main psychiatrist, Dr. Dean K. Knudson, who has recommended forced electroshock for months, reportedly was told by his insurance company to resign from Ray’s case, and he has put in his 30-day-notice.

A few dozen activists from four states showed up for five protests in three days for “May Day for Ray” in Minnesota, and succeeded in winning a national media story in Associated Press which, while biased, still spelled out Ray’s case to millions of people.

How has Ray and his supporters accomplished this? After all, consider some of the “power imbalance” Ray has faced:
When Ray has been in court in December 2008, in a basement court room in the bottom of a hospital, he has been horribly represented by a court-appointed legal counsel, Jon Duckstad, who did not aggressively defend Ray…

Ray has been surrounded by dozens of agencies and individuals making a huge profit on him…

Ray has been prohibited from visiting with supporters.

What Ray lost in the court of law he is apparently winning in the court of public opinion. The general public — citizens and taxpayers — do not like the idea that they are paying for multiple prolonged electroshock of a man living at home, over his wishes, and even over the wishes of his family and his retired-nurse mother.

Gandhi called this “Satyagraha,” or “truth force,” also known as “spirit force.” When people hear this term they often focus on the first word, spirit or truth. But what about the second? Just because one is nonviolent, does not mean that one is disempowered. Gandhi was no dish rag or door mat!

We’ve found something out about Ray over the months: When he was younger he was apparently a really great chess player. He said that at times he could play multiple boards at once and win, which is quite a skill.

So even though Ray had multiple forced electroshocks, he somehow figured out in October how to call a phone number provided by a librarian to reach our social change movement, via MindFreedom International.

And now Ray and his campaign are helping to teach us all about the power of Satyagraha!

Thanks Ray, and everyone. Now keep it up — Ray needs to be free of this abuse forever, and that means he needs to find long-term sustainable care for his many needs, caused by disability and trauma, including by his dozens of forced electroshocks. Ray is a trauma survivor, and we must all do what we can to help him find the alternatives he seeks, and that can be difficult for anyone in our society.


May 03, 2009

Wrap up for “May Day for Ray” Weekend

by David W. Oaks — last modified May 03, 2009 08:41 PM

From 1 May to 3 May, MindFreedom members from four states held five actions for the campaign to end the forced electroshock of Ray Sandford. Here’s a quick wrap-up.

Well, it’s Sunday evening, and for the last three days a number of activists here in the Twin Cities have held a variety of events to support Ray.

A quick summary:

  • Friday, 1 May: The main event, “May Day for Ray”: A peaceful protest in the Rotunda of the State Capitol of Minnesota. We held a news conference, networked with each other, had a speak out, and visited legislators. You may read about that protest here.
  • Saturday, 2 May: Strategy workshop with key local activists about Ray Campaign, and launching of MindFreedom Twin Cities Affiliate.
  • Evening, Saturday, 2 May: MindFreedom activists leafleted at the main Spring fundraiser for the local affiliate of NAMI, reaching several hundred participants about the Ray campaign.
  • Sunday morning commentary about organizing here, from main MFI blog.
  • Morning, Sunday, 3 May: MindFreedom activists visit the Central Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, MN. We talked with a mental health advocate at Central, and then went in front and behind the church to leaflet in a civil and nonviolent ways. All the congregants we talked to were politely interested, but several church leaders became visibly angry and a Pastor even phoned police when we would not leave from the sidewalk in front of the church.
  • Afternoon, Sunday, 3 May: We did a traveling skit at the enormous May Day event in Minneapolis, where tens of thousands of people gathered. Hundreds were leafleted as we did “Normality Screening” guerilla theater, with a special flyer about Ray.

We have to give special thanks to Al Galves for his non-stop effort to help coordinate and support events this weekend, thanks Al!

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