Document Actions

A British newspaper reports about an Islamic family’s “disgusted” allegations that a family member was given involuntary electroshock over her and her family’s wishes.

Anger over patient’s electro-shock therapy at Tolworth Hospital

Date Published:

Oct 23, 2012 07:00 AM

Author: Tom Barnes

Source: Kingston Guardian UK News

Link to original article with photo in Kingston Guardian click here.

A woman is planning legal action over claims her mentally ill mother was given electric-shock therapy at Tolworth Hospital without permission. 

Khadija Rahman is furious over care received by her relative during two stays at Lilacs ward in the past two years. Her mother was first admitted in the summer of 2011, having had psychotic depression diagnosed. During that time she would visit and bathe and feed her mother, as she said she often found her wearing dirty clothing and was malnourished. 

When her mother had a second breakdown earlier this year, the New Malden resident was reluctant to send her back, but relented after being told by social workers there were no other options. During the latest stay, Miss Rahman said the trust went ahead with electroshock therapy without consent from either the family or patient, and then ignored pleas to stop the treatment. 

Requests to have her Muslim mother looked after only by female nurses were also ignored, she claimed, meaning she was unwilling to come out of her room, and had less time outside during breaks. She has complained to health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after concerns raised to the trust in 2011 fell on deaf ears, and now plans to launch a lawsuit against the trust. 

She said: “It was just appalling, sub-human, not something you would expect from a first world country. “Her religious and cultural values were ignored. We as the family were ignored. “This has stripped her of her privacy, self respect and dignity, as well as her human rights. “We are now very serious about legal action because we truly believe this substandard care needs to be highlighted, particularly as our complaints were not effectively dealt with.” 

Abedur Rahman, who is receiving treatment for a heart condition, said his wife’s treatment had been very stressful for the family. He said: “They treated her with no dignity almost as though she were an animal. I am absolutely disgusted.” A spokesman for South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, which runs Tolworth Hospital, declined to answer questions about Miss Rahman’s mother’s care.

In a letter in response to the latest complaint made by Miss Rahman, the hospital said they went ahead with electro-shock treatment without consulting the family because doctors had “significant concerns” over Mrs Rahman’s mental health. 

On being looked after by male nurses the letter said: “I recognise that when we need to cover shifts due to staff absences, often our agency staff are male, however the minimal standard of one female staff member is always in place.” The spokesman said they take complaints very seriously. He said: “We arranged a meeting with her the next working day to discuss the issues with her and also provided a full written response.”