Some comments on ECT ...


Because professionals are unwilling to acquire *full* informed consent from their patients, advocates in the United States are now working to ban all electricity to induce brain shock. Prior reasonable positions that shock must only be voluntary were ineffective in making shock equipment manufacturers and shock administers include in their information the anecdotal hazards reported by many shock recipients.
It the United States, it appears this is a dollar driven issue: there's a good living to be made in shock.

Sylvia Caras , owner, MADNESS coordinator, the family of mad lists

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My concern is that Medicine (read registered psychiatric practitioners pursuiing their profession according to medical dogma's ) are, when they use ECT, kicking the tv set to correct a program their culture says is wrong, bad, incomprehensible or leads to suffering and therefore should not be permitted. .That they can convince their subjects that this is the case is a tribute to their power and authority to convince them and has nothing to do with science.
What is actually being performed in the name of science is to deliberately deliver a current holus bolus that overwhelms the entire central nervous system to the extent it produces generalised tetanic convulsions with no generative mechanism, comprehensible theory that can be demonstrated, to justify such drastic action. It is pseudo scientific sleight of hand to say that 'it works'. So does a slap across the face or saying "pull yourself together."
In the ninteenth centuary phlebotomy 'worked' and hundreds claimed the benefits of a concoction of morphine and arsenic that they said was great. Nonetheless they died of blood loss or arsenical poisioning. Mind you they maybe died feeling great. That a person claims benefit from a pseudo scientific manoever has nothing to do with scientific proof.
ECT is, and dare I generalise, Psychiatry, is a pseudo science . And its proponents unless they can come up with a generative mechanisms to explain it do pseudoscientific sleight of hand, and, therefore not only violate human autonony integrity and responsibility but also bring science itself
into disrepute with their fradulent claims.

Tony Coates

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To tell doctors that we do not appreciate the oath to "Do No Harm", I would add to this "First Do No Harm" is the oath I remember. In that regard, ECT even if deemed risky is a second or third line treatment when much else has failed and life is in the balance. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation at its finality may be viewed in much the same way as ECT according to your arguments. I'm sure you will agree that CPR saves lives.

Ian J.

Now that's interesting. I'm not a doctor, granted, but I always understood that phrase to mean that the first rule [therefore, all-governing] is that physicians should do no harm to their patients. Not that it's a 'but if that doesn't bring results, then do whatever it takes to abolish the symptom/illness/scape-goat-of-the-week/etc and to heck with the patient'...?
Fwiw, CPR might result in broken ribs and even a punctured lung, I suppose, but it won't fry your brain and chances are you'll be the same person afterwards as you were before (barring life-altering-experience responses). Structural imaging? What about ordinary neuropyschiatric testing? As you are well aware, very little is truly *known* about how the brain works even today. Imaging detects physical anomolies, so far as I know, rather than impairments in function. Physical and functional impairment are not mutually dependant. Seeking assurance in such studies done back in the 1950's [given all that has come to light] re: ECT seems just a tad self-deceptive... and, well, a little bit odd. :-)
I generally believe that treatments (even the suspect or controversial) should remain available to the patient(s) if the patients so choose to take the informed risk. But psychiatric treatments such as ECT are, to me, the exception because those treatments are capable of substantial harm and are in the hands of a subset of physicians who, as history has well demonstrated, are incapable of controlling themselves and/or their self-perpetuating interests. Stereo-typically speaking, of course. :-)
I suspect that the anti-ECT campaign would consider itself victorious if they could just secure assurances that ample safeguards will be implemented across the board. As long as physicians (and others) promote the belief/fantasy that ECT (and other such treatments) is harmless or should be enforceable, well, the anti-ECT folks have a lot to be concerned about.

Take care,
Donna T.

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