- NEWS RELEASE - IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- LEAKED COPY OF U.S. SURGEON GENERAL REPORT REVEALS CLINTON/GORE
PLAN TO GIVE BLANKET ENDORSEMENT TO *ELECTROSHOCK*
- FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAID TO BE "PISSED" THAT
U.S. PUBLIC IS GETTING PREVIEW VIA INTERNET 9-27-99
- WASHINGTON, DC - Later this Fall, the Clinton/Gore Administration
plans to release a major U.S. Surgeon General's report on "mental
health." These Surgeon General reports (such as the ones on tobacco
and AIDS) carry a lot of weight. The Administration also hopes this attention
to "mental health" will help the Gore presidential campaign,
because this is Tipper's main issue. Drafts of the report are secret.
- But their strategy is backfiring: A preview of the Surgeon
General's report has been leaked out via email to psychiatric survivor
advocates, causing a furor: The Surgeon General's report is currently planning
to give a clean bill of health to the controversial procedure of electroshock
(also known as "electroconvulsive therapy" or ECT).
- Officials at the federal "Center for Mental Health
Services" (CMHS) are said to be "pissed" at the "mental
health consumer" who leaked the report.
- But early indications are that these federal officials'
anger may be nothing compared to the anger of advocates and psychiatric
survivors -- especially those who have experienced human rights violations
via electroshock -- as they read about this U.S. whitewash and feel betrayed.
- ACTION ZAP BACK - ACTION ZAP BACK - ACTION ZAP BACK
- FAX, PHONE AND WRITE THE U.S. SURGEON GENERAL NOW!
- Fax number: (202) 690-6960
- Phone number: (202) 690-7694
- David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D. U.S. Surgeon General Assistant
Secretary for Health Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Rm 716G 200 Independence
Ave. SW Washington, DC 20201 USA
- A sample message is at the BOTTOM of this alert.
- But *first*, here is the e-mail that *leaked* the Surgeon
- WARNING: Copying & forwarding the below e-mail is
apparently angering the Clinton/Gore administration: So you know what to
- BELOW IS THE E-MAIL SAID TO "PISS OFF" THE
CLINTON/GORE ADMINISTRATION -- WITH AN ADVANCE LEAK OF SURGEON GENERAL
WHITEWASH ABOUT ELECTROSHOCK!!!
- COPY & FORWARD THIS ALERT FAR AND WIDE!!!
- The following are excerpts from two e-mails today and
yesterday from Joseph A. Rogers, a mental health consumer activist in Pennsylvania
who directs a federally-funded program. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- From Joseph A Rogers <firstname.lastname@example.org 9-27-99
- I just got off the phone with the folks at Center for
Mental Health Services (CMHS) and they are very pissed at me for sharing
the little bit of the report I have shared. It seems that the Surgeon General's
folks are very upset that there is a public debate going on about the report.
I was told by the CMHS folks that I am in the dog house with them and they
will never trust me again. This is odd as I don't think they have ever
trusted me (at least they never acted that way).
- I hope people start writing to make a stink about this
report as I think we can have our voices heard, but it needs to be more
than just a couple of us to have an effect. I think the best bet is to
write the Surgeon General.
- Even if you are not upset about the ECT part of the report
you might just want to write and ask that the report be developed in a
more open and public way and that you would like a draft copy so you can
make pre-published comments.
- "ECT SAFE AND EFFECTIVE" SAYS U.S. SURGEON
- I have seen a draft of the Surgeon Generals Report on
Mental Health, and the section on ECT is as bad as it gets.
- It begins, "ECT is regarded as a safe and effective
treatment for depression . . ." This is a really big deal, since the
Surgeon General is regarded as the ultimate medical authority by many.
This includes Ann Landers, who has often quoted the Surgeon General in
her column. So the influence wielded by the Surgeon Generals Office is
- And there is a very short window of opportunity to do
anything about this, since the Surgeon General's Office plans to issue
a final report within a couple of months!
- According to the report, ECT has gotten a bad reputation
because of how it was performed "decades ago," when the absence
of anesthesia would sometimes cause people to break bones. But, it reassures
us, "By the 1950s, these adverse effects were eliminated." Now,
according to the report, "ECT has become a carefully regulated procedure"
and there has been a "growing awareness of its benets and cost-effectiveness."
- The report refers to the "explicit written informed
consent" that is supposedly required, and says that ECT works better
than medication because it results in "more rapid resolution of symptoms."
- As for side effects, we are told that the most common
is "confusion after each treatment, which generally clears within
an hour. TRANSIENT [the report's emphasis] amnesia of varying degrees is
also common, but it resolves within several months, except for some persistent
loss of memory for the period immediately surrounding the treatment itself."
(The report refers to the "OCCASIONAL [my emphasis] anecdotal evidence"
of permanent memory loss but, in fairness, it does say that "permanent
memory loss remains a legitimate topic for careful longitudinal study.")
- The report concludes by saying that "modern advances
in treatment technique" have reduced the "adverse cognitive effects
of ECT," and that, anyway, it's hard to tell if these are caused by
the ECT or by depression. The report says, "Claims that ECT induces
brain damage have been unsubstantiated by research," although it admitted
earlier that "The reasons for ECT's efectiveness are not known (Weiner
& Krystal, 1994)."
- There is no mention of the fact that many studies have
shown that victims of brain damage also experience a period of euphoria,
which is also short-lived. In fact, the report does not even mention that,
even when ECT does cause some lifting of depression, this usually wears
off relatively quickly. The report concludes, "The current practice
of ECT is considered safe and clinically effective (Depression Guideline
- FAX/WRITE/PHONE U.S. SURGEON GENERAL Even if your message
is only *one* sentence.
- SAMPLE MESSAGE TO THE U.S. SURGEON GENERAL:
- by David Oaks, co-coordinator Support Coalition International
- I've seen a leak of your "mental health" report!
- How dare you give a clean bill of health to electroshock!
Advocates and psychiatric survivors are outraged! What about human rights
concerns? What about informed consent issues? What about the many studies
showing high rates of persistent loss of memories from before the electroshock?
What about our voices?
- YOU claim shock is regulated.
- TRUTH: The FDA has still not investigated this device
for safety and efficacy, in violation of the law. The shock device remains
a "Class III" unregulated "hazardous" device.
- YOU claim new shock devices have improved.
- TRUTH: The newer devices can deliver even higher amounts
of electrical energy ("joules") than before. No wonder the four
U.S. shock manufacturers don't want any oversight of their devices.
- YOU claim there is adequate informed consent.
- TRUTH: Even the CMHS (1998) whitewash on shock admitted
instances of illegal forced electroshock are continuing to this day. But
even all those who *sign* for shock are given fraudulent information.
- YOU claim memory problems are transient.
- TRUTH: Even the NIH (1985) whitewash cited studies that
more than half of those shocked report memory problems they attribute to
shock even three years after the shock.
- YOU claim there are only occasional anecdotal reports
of persistent loss of pre-electroshock memories.
- TRUTH: While some of those shocked do not report memory
complaints, the medical and FDA record are filled with thousands of heart-breaking
reports of electroshock survivors losing memories of their wedding, birth
of children, vacation, neighborhoods, friends, relatives, careers and much
more. Your lies threaten to re-traumatize these survivors.
- YOU claim shock is safe.
- TRUTH: You ignore studies showing the death rate following
shock may be closer to 1 in 200, rather than the lies spread by the shock
- YOU are being hoodwinked by a small group of psychiatric
industry special interests. Your report threatens to destroy any remaining
trust in the Clinton/Gore Administration with thousands in our community.
Please respond soon, with the TRUTH.
- For Further Info: