28 August 2007 update: The attorneys for “Simone D.” announced today that her planned forced electroshock in a New York State psychiatric institution has been halted because of a new court ruling they won this morning! MindFreedom had issued a human rights alert to say “no” to Simone D.’s forced electroshock. Next step: End all involuntary electroshock in New York State!
Update, 28 August 2007:
Simone D. wins!
Simone D. is a psychiatric inmate in the Creedmoor psychiatric institution in New York State.
New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) aggressively pursued obtaining a court order to give Simone D. forced electroshock over her expressed wishes.
Simone D. had clearly said electroshock caused her pain and suffering. She knew what she was talking about. Simone D. had previously had 200 electroshocks.
Making it worse, Simone D. speaks only Spanish, but for years she’s been denied counseling or even staff fluent in Spanish, except for a few week period.
Today, Simone D.’s attorneys announced that she won! [For an overview of this court victory by activist Laura Ziegler, click here.]
This morning a court ruled that the two-year-old order to give her forced electroshock had been set aside.
Said Kim Darrow, one of her attorneys, “I was able to get the original judge to order a hearing, on the ground that his main reason for granting the shock order — that Simone might not eat and starve — no longer applies.”
Kim explained, “The hearing was held this morning before a different judge. He ruled that Creedmoor failed to carry its burden of proof.” The judge canceled out OMH’s court order for Simone D.’s forced electroshock, that has hung over her head these past two years, since 2005.
This is the second person to win a victory in one month over forced electroshock by the New York State Office of Mental Health following a campaign of public alerts and court battles.
David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International said, “Thank you to Simone D. and her great attorneys, Dennis Feld and Kim Darrow. And thank you to the many people who spoke out against her forced electroshock. The fact that John Kelly and now Simone D. have both been able to stop their planned forced electroshock shows there is hope! Keep up the pressure. Let’s end all forced electroshock!”
You are encouraged to read and act on original alert for Simone D. below. More updates will be on the MindFreedom Free Live Internet Radio Show each Wednesday at 4 pm ET.
Yes, please continue to speak out — this time to end ALL forced electroshock in New York State! Contact the five decision-makers listed below, and ask them to pledge to end all involuntary electroshock in New York State!
Original human rights alert for Simone D.:
21 July 2007: Citizens from all over the world and in New York State are speaking out! Keep it up! The State of New York won its battle in court to order even more forced electroshock for Creedmoor psychiatric inmate “Simone D.,” who has already had more than 200 electroshocks, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. Here is how you can easily speak out and say ‘no’ to this overwhelming human rights abuse to New York officials, now including Sen. Hillary Clinton. Update: Ways to reach both Sen. Clinton’s office and presidential campaign.
Alert: Say ‘no’ to New York State forced electroshock
Simone D. to New York State: “Electroshock causes more pain. I suffer more from shock treatment!”
The State of New York won its battle in court to order even more forced electroshock for Creedmoor Psychiatric Center inmate “Simone D.,” who has already had more than 200 electroshocks, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.
The international court of public opinion to weigh in! People are e-mailing, calling and faxing into New York officials from all over the world, and in New York State! Keep it up!
Update: Next MindFreedom Internet radio show will feature one or both of Simone D.’s attorneys!
Update: You can now download the Appellate Division court order for Simone D.’s forced electroshock.
Here is how you can easily use the web to speak out and say “No!” to this overwhelming human rights abuse. It takes only a moment… about as long as an electroshock.
10 July 2007 update: PsychRights has issued a news release about the Simone D. campaign, here is the pdf:
Background: Simone D. vs. OMH Forced Electroshock
The New York Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court order forcing Simone D., an inmate at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, to undergo 30 more electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments against her will.
Simone D.’s attorney Dennis Feld said, “Her battle cry has been muffled by her being primarily a Spanish language speaker in a unit where no one except her MHLS on-site attorney speaks Spanish.”
However, Mr. Feld said her records reveal that when approached by the State clinicians for her to submit to more electroshock, Simone stated clearly enough in Spanish that, “Electroshock causes more pain. I suffer more from shock treatment!”
New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) has a long-standing policy of vigorously pursuing legal action to force ECT on unwilling people whom it determines are not capable of making their own decisions. Interestingly, the capacity of people who agree to ECT is never called into question.
To read two updates from Simone D’s attorney Dennis Feld about her court hearings go here:
It’s time for us all to speak up and demand that New York State end this appalling, inhumane practice!
It just takes a moment to use e-mail to contact the below five New York State officials! If you can also phone or write that is helpful, but at least e-mail them!
And for extra effort we’ve added a fifth official, but you’ll need to phone her offices: Where does Senator Hillary Clinton stand on these human rights atrocities occurring in her own State?
Let them all know that forced ECT is wrong and must be stopped!
A draft sample message is included below, though using your own words and personal experiences are encouraged. Please be civil but firm.
Please contact these five New York State officials immediately!
- Gov. Eliot Spitzer is a fairly new Governor who inherited a bullying mental health system. Complete his web feedback form at: Phone: (518) 474-7516. Express your concern and you will be connected to a citizen comment line. At the end of the recorded message you may leave a voice mail, although the current recording does not specify this. Fax: 518-474-1513.
- Lieutenant Gov. David Paterson is legally blind and has been charged by the Governor with dealing with disability issues. Complete his web form at: Phone: (518) 474-4623. Fax: (518) 486-4170
- Assemblyperson Peter M. Rivera is Chair of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee onMental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. He is a crucial elected leader focusing on the field of mental health. Assemblyperson Rivera is especially concerned about language accessibility issues, such as those that are now harming Simone D. Please contact him by e-mail, and if possible by phone and in writing. We understand he has some bilingual staff in case you wish to communicate your concerns in Spanish. Email: Phone: (718) 931-2620. Write: 1973 Westchester Avenue; Bronx, NY 10462 USA.
- New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hogan: While leadingPresident Bush’s Commission on Mental Health, Michael Hogan claimed to supportempowerment and recovery and human rights. But earlier this year he took over as head of this State agency that is aggressively pushing for more forced electroshock over the wishes of the subject! How can he reconcilethis? Please ask him!
- Complete Commissioner Hogan’s web form at: [Because of MindFreedom complaints, this OMH feedback website has now apparently been fixed, though the form still does not work in some browsers such as Safari.]
- Phone Commissioner Hogan: (518) 474-4403 Fax: (518) 474-2149. Be civil, be firm, don’t stop!!
5. Senator Hillary Clinton. Ask this presidential candidate in a civil way where she stands on these human rights violations in her own State!
- If you live inside New York State, use her SENATE feedback form. Go to the top of the following web page to find the link to web feedback form (“Comment on an Issue”) and/or to phone, fax or visit any of the local offices listed here: Or you may go directly to the web feedback for Sen. Clinton here:
- If you live outside New York State, please use the web comment form for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign here:
Draft sample message – though your own words & experiences are best:
The New York Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court order forcing Simone D., an inmate at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, to undergo 30 more electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments against her will. Ms. D. has already been subjected to more than 200 ECT sessions.
It is time for the State to reverse the New York Office of Mental Health’s long-standing policy of vigorously pursuing legal action to force ECT on people who do not want this controversial intervention. We believe it is time to revise the laws that allow forced electroshock. ECT is of questionable efficacy, but it does have well-documented serious side-effects effects, including permanent memory loss. This memory loss can be so severe that people may not recognize family members or be able to practice their professions. This is an invasive irreversible intervention.
The World Health Organization has called for a ban of involuntary electroshock. It is time that New York ends such shameful practices.
New York Office of Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hogan chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which promoted the idea that people with psychiatric disabilities must direct their own care in order for recovery to be possible. This stands in stark contradiction to OMH’s zealous legal activities to force ECT on those who do not want it.
We call on the State of New York to renounce this harmful policy, and on the Governor to propose legislation that would end the possibility of ECT being forced on any citizen.
- [Your name & address.]