MindFreedom International News - 28 January 2009


Ray Sandford Alert Update:


    Postponed at the last minute!
    "It was a miracle," says Ray.
    Today's involuntary outpatient electroshock
    for Ray Sandford for today, 28 January 2009,
    was POSTPONED, with Ray in the waiting room.
    During this delay: How you may easily and peacefully protest
    Ray's future forced electroshock from wherever you are.
Ray Sandford's forced electroshock today was postponed today.
As has happened many times before, early this morning Ray was woken 
up in his assisted living home and escorted to a psychiatrist's 
waiting room at Mercy Hospital north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As he often does, Ray complained about his physical health. In the 
past his complaint has not made a difference. This time it did.
A medical staff person told Ray his involuntary electroshock was 
canceled that morning, citing Ray's physical health as the reason.
Ray returned home and called the MindFreedom office, saying, "It was 
a miracle. They were ready to go. I was sitting in the hallway where 
you wait. There's a big picture of one of my former doctors on the 
wall that I was looking at. I was twiddling my thumbs. And someone 
came out and said, 'Oh by the way you're not going to get ECT today.' 
As far as I am concerned that was a miracle. I was prepared for the 
worst. I am delighted."
It's not over yet, of course. Ray is supposed to have a check-up next 
week to see if his forced electroshocks may be rescheduled.
    Background on today's "miracle" [updating Alert #11]:
Ray Sandford was scheduled for another involuntary electroshock 
today, Wednesday, 28 January 2009, just north of Minneapolis, 
Minnesota, USA, all funded by taxpayer dollars.
After more than three dozen forced electroshocks, Ray knows the drill.
Last night, staff prepared by removing all of Ray's food from his 
mini-fridge in his basement room in a small assisted living home 
called "Victory House" in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. This is 
because Ray is not supposed to eat for a number of hours before 
anesthesia is administered.
Early this morning Ray was woken up extra early, and an escort 
brought Ray the 15 miles north on streets near the Mississippi River 
to Mercy Hospital, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
Ray's mental health workers always manage to find an escort for Ray's 
forced electroshocks or psychiatrist visits.
On the other hand, a few days ago Ray said he had to miss a dental 
appointment that was supposed to help with his severe teeth problems, 
because no attendant could be found that day.
Since Ray's campaign started, an attendant is required to accompany 
Ray any time he leaves his home. MindFreedom volunteers have been 
banned from visiting. One such visitor, a disability advocate, even 
had her employment threatened after Ray's "helpers" filed a complaint  
with her employer for bringing Ray to a Minnesota center for 
independent living for people with disabilities.
Ray says that once more, the waiting room of his electroshock doctor, 
Bernard M. Coelho, MD, at Mercy Hospital was full with about 10 
patients who Ray believes are also scheduled for electroshock. Giving 
multiple electroshocks on the same morning is a common practice, 
sometimes called a "Shock Mill," and can be very lucrative. Mercy 
Hospital is owned by Allina Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.
In the past, Ray has complained about various physical ailments that 
he felt should cancel his electroshock. "They would just bring me 
into Dr. Coelho's office, and he would say I could have the 
electroshock anyway."
This time Ray brought up the fact that about two weeks ago he had 
been brought to Regency Hospital by ambulance because of physical 
complaints. Lab tests said his ammonia levels were too high, and he 
brought this up today.
This time, Ray's electroshock was called off.
If it had gone forward, Ray would have laid in a bed and felt an 
injection as anesthesia and a muscle paralyzer administered to 
suppress muscle writhing. Ray says Dr. Coelho would then runs 
electricity through Ray's brain, inducing a convulsion.
Ray calls the MindFreedom office almost every day, including just 
before and just after his forced electroshocks. He says forced shock 
is always scary, that it's harming his memory and ability to 
concentrate more and more.
Ray is asking us all to peacefully protest his ongoing forced 
The nightmare of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes 
of the subject has happened regularly since the very first 
electroshock in Italy in 1937. But now the atrocity of forced 
electroshock has climbed over the institutional walls, and is out in 
our towns and cities, in our neighborhoods and homes.
Do not let this become "normal."
Do not wait to see your neighbor escorted out into some early winter 
morning for this.
Do not wait for that to be you.
MindFreedom reminds everyone that Ray's campaign is nonviolent. Ray 
values his religious principles, and MindFreedom has strict 
nonviolence guidelines.
If you communicate with any potential opponent, please be strong but 
civil. Anything else can be used against Ray.
Here are a few easy ways you may protest Ray's electroshock from 
wherever you are:
    *** ACTION *** ACTION *** ACTION ***
Please forward to all appropriate places on and off Internet.
1) Protest to Richard Pettingill, Chief executive officer (CEO) of 
Allina Hospital and Clinics:
Ask that your civil verbal protest be placed in Ray Sandford's 
medical record using their online web form:
Sample message (your own words are best):
"Dear Mr. Richard Pettingill:
"I request that my message be placed in the permanent medical record 
of your patient Ray Sandford, who states that he is receiving ongoing 
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital administered by Allina 
psychiatrist Bernard M Coelho, MD.
"While you cannot violate the privacy of a patient, I ask that you 
respond in general about your policy of allowing involuntary 
electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.
"Whether or not you feel this is legal, it is unethical, immoral and 
traumatic to everyone in mental health care.
"The reason(s) I protest this forced electroshock are:
"My name and contact information: _______"
You may also try to phone Mr. Richard Pettingill's office at 
612-262-0601 or 612-262-5000.
UPDATE: Dr. Coelho direct phone number listed on the Allina web site 
is 612-264-4379. However, for a while this phone number was 
disconnected. If it does not work, you may try to leave him a message 
at the above numbers, or Mercy at 763-236-6000.
2) Bishop Mark Hanson of the Lutheran Church
While the Lutheran Church is not directly in charge of Ray's 
electroshock, they are supposed to help "guard" Ray, they are 
supposed to care deeply about social justice, yet they are not 
supporting Ray's campaign to end his forced electroshock.
The six Minnesota Synods of the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in 
America" [ELCA] -- which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the 
USA -- own Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN], which is 
Ray's court-appointed general guardian.
ELCA and LSSMN have refused to speak out for Ray.
MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson, 
who leads ELCA. Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA's Director of 
Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Today, Ms. Reko told 
MindFreedom, "Supervision is not a concept we enter into with 
affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency 
Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its 
agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental 
health, especially involuntary electroshock.
Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:
Sample message (your own words are best):
"Dear Bishop Hanson:
"Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am 
not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone's forced 
electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of 
social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated 
social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.
"Your name and contact info: ___________"
You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling 
(773) 380-2700, wait for an attendant.
3) Engage your local religious organizations in dialogue on human 
rights and mental health
Ray has given us all an opportunity to encourage our local faith-
based communities to address the justice issues involved in mental 
health care today.
Ask that your local church, synagogue, mosque, etc. find a way to 
raise issues about human rights and mental health.
Those in the USA may also seek to engage in dialogue with 
participants and leaders in your local ELCA church, which you may 
easily locate here:
    Please act today!
Because of today's cancellation, MindFreedom does not know when Ray's 
next scheduled electroshock may be. It could be as early as 4 
February or 11 February.
    Minnesota Nonviolent Protests for Ray
Several individuals and groups in Minnesota have told MindFreedom 
they would like to help support and attend peaceful protests on 
behalf of Ray in Minnesota.
Several MindFreedom members have even said they are willing to travel 
from out of state and from out of the country to participate in 
MindFreedom will broadcast more information as it is received.
    How to do and learn more on the Ray Campaign
For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, to hear the NPR radio 
story on Ray, and read Frequently Asked Questions about the "No More 
Shock For Ray Campaign" go here:
To further participate in the MindFreedom campaign to support Ray, 
current MindFreedom members are invited to get on the very busy 
MindFreedom "zapback" e-mail list about electroshock, here:
    Support MindFreedom International
Join, donate or renew early now!
Independence, mutual support and strength in numbers are why 
MindFreedom is one of the few groups in the world to break the 
silence about existence of involuntary electroshock for over two 
This people power is why Ray had somewhere to turn, when he asked his 
local library to find human rights organizations!
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary in 2009, MindFreedom International 
is a 100 percent independent nonprofit united to win activist 
campaigns for human rights and alternatives in mental health.
Open to the public, most members identify themselves as individuals 
who have personally experienced human rights violations in the mental 
health system.
MindFreedom is for people who want to unite "in a spirit of mutual 
cooperation" as the MFI mission statement begins.
Benefits include MindFreedom Journal, special web and e-mail 
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