Forced Electroconvulsive Therapy without any warning

Imagine that you had no previous history of mental illness, had a major depressive episode after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer without any support, and after nearly two months a visit to an A & E department because of concerns about disturbed vision had led to you being unexpectedly forcibly detained and given multiple psychiatric drugs over a three-day period, then transferred to a hospital far fom home. You had been a hospital inpatient for around three weeks. The drugs that you were given and confinement in an alien environment with no information about the implications of your terminal diagnosis and no contact with anyone in the outside world had made your condition far worse, but your body was getting used to the drugs and you were starting to improve. You were socialising and eating meals with the other patients. On Christmas Eve morning you are told not to go to the dining room for breakfast because you were going to be taken for electroconvulsive therapy. This came like a bolt from the blue because no-one had told you that this would be happening or prepared you in any way. The doctor who had arranged for you to be forcibly electrocuted had gone away for her Christmas holiday after deliberately deciding not to tell you what was about to be done to you. Your distress and strongly voiced objections were ignored. There was no one to talk to and no way of avoiding the trauma of being taken to the ECT suite against your will, being anaesthetised and having an electric current passed through your brain to induce a seizure. This happened to me four times until I was able to stop it. The memory of what happened started coming back to me and keeping me awake at night nearly six months after I had left hospital.

This happened to me at the Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen in December 2021 and January 2022. I still get angry and upset when I remember the utter helplessness of being wheeled by a nurse along endless corridors to reach the ECT suite and looking down while they stuck a needle into my hand for the anaesthetic. A few months later I felt mentally strong enough to re-visit what happened and requested a copy of my medical records. I found that Dr Hannah Badial falsely stated that I was refusing food and medicine and stated that I had been unwell for three times longer than I actually had been when she sent the form requesting the second opinion needed to authorise ECT. I found that the second opinion doctor who signed the form authorising the treatment, Dr David Rooke, had never met me or spoken to me and falsely recorded that he had consulted me. I also found that my objection to the treatment and my distress were recorded in notes, that three of the four electroconvulsive therapy sessions had happened after the Temporary Detention Certificate authorising compulsory treatment had expired and so had no legal basis, and that the doctors administering the ECT were misinformed about my status, recording wrongly that the Temporary Detention Certificate had been extended and then a Compulsory Treatment Order granted. I also found that they failed to induce a seizure during the first session despite giving me three electric shocks with increasing currents, and so my ability to instruct a solicitor and the improvement in my condition over Christmas cannot be attributed to the ECT.

Sertlaline, Olanzapine and Mirtazapine without consent

Imagine that you are a hospital inpatient for over two months and are given pills to swallow morning and evening, but the doctor responsible for your care, Dr Hannah Badial, hasn’t explained to you what they are, although you have heard that they are antidepressants and an antipsychotic. Once you become a voluntary patient and have access to the internet you ask a nurse. She tells you that they are Olanzapine, Mirtazapine and Sertraline, so you look them up online and find that they are powerful psychiatric drugs with several possible side effects, particularly when used in combination. This happened to me at the Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen.

The day for my discharge arrived in mid-February 2022 and still no doctor had told me which drugs I had been given and was expected to continue take, let alone told me about the possible life-changing side effects, how these might exacerbate the serious and unavoidable ones from Androgen Deprivation Therapy cancer treatment, or how and when to reduce the doses. A few minutes before my taxi was due I was given a paper bag of boxes of tablets from the pharmacy. I opened it when I arrived home that evening. The boxes did indeed contain Olanzapine, Mirtazapine and Sertraline. The only instructions that I had been given about taking them were the labels on the boxes.

I checked the doses online and found that the dosage of Sertraline was particularly high (four times the normal dose) and that using these drugs in combination increases the risk of side effects. I decided that I was not going to take any drugs that had been so negligently prescribed without my informed consent. Thankfully any withdrawal effects were not noticeable and amid the relief of getting away from hospital and resuming my life I started to feel less like a zombie and much more alive than I did when I was drugged. I knew nothing about psychiatric drugs before being admitted to hospital, but after reading about their effects it now seems to me that the deterioration in my mental state as soon as I was admitted to hospital in Lerwick was caused by being given a high dose of Sertraline, plus Olanzapine, Diazepam and Lorenzepam in a three-day period. The doctors at the Royal Cornhill Hospital did not seem to consider this possibility and simply upped the doses and added Mirtazapine and electrical brain injury to the treatment. I knew nothing about psychiatry before my experience of it but it seems that it rests on very shaky foundations, with subjective judgements based on the patient's behaviour used instead of scientific diagnostic tests, and drugs that are heavily marketed by pharmaceutical companies as being able to fix certain distressing mental states when they are in fact crude instruments that have wide-ranging effects on the body's systems, and side effects that are often interpreted as being caused by an underlying mental illness and treated with more drugs.

Negligent Doctors

I believe that the actions (or non-actions) of the doctors who treated me were unforgivable. Thank God I won an appeal against further compulsory 'treatment' with electroconvulsive therapy despite what psychiatrists wrote about me, because a nurse spoke up on my behalf. Thank God I didn’t take any of the heavy-duty psychiatric drugs that I was handed with no information when I left hospital. I would still be living with the life-changing consequences now.

How were they able to get away with it? I don’t know. The mental health system is new to me. Perhaps it is because I was 66, had no previous contact with psychiatrists and so no history to guide my treatment, and the doctors specialised in the psychiatry of old age, where patients are expected to be passive and not to recover and call them to account. Many of my fellow patients will have lacked the ability to question their treatment and were being drugged into a docile state, so perhaps the doctors assumed that they would never be held accountable. Perhaps because the nursing care on Drum Ward was good no one questioned the doctors' lack of attention to patients and excessive and inappropriate use of drugs and electric shocks.

Over a year has now passed since I was discharged. I haven’t taken any psychiatric drugs and feel more clear-headed and alive because of that. One of the side-effects of the drug and electric shock 'treatment' that I received is memory loss, but I now feel strong enough to try to understand what happened and fill in some gaps. This web site is intended to help me with that, to make sure that other patients are treated more humanely (particularly when newly diagnosed with advanced cancer), to find out whether others have been treated similarly, to begin researching the treatments that I have been given, and to call Doctors Jane Murdoch, Hannah Badial, David Rooke and Leah Drever to account for exceeding their legal powers and failing to follow guidance. I believe that what they did to me by giving me forced ECT with no warning and no good reason, apart from their unfounded belief that it is the ultimate treatment for depression, was assault.

For anyone interested in learning more detail I have added sections explaining how I ended up in the Royal Cornhill Hospital and my treatment there, and my understanding as a lay person of the legal powers and guidance that should have applied to my treatment.

I want to get on with my life and not become too fixated on a difficult period, but I also want to understand more about what happened to me and how it could have happened. The memory of being taken against my will for forcible ECT 'treatment' still comes back to me periodically and keeps me awake when I am trying to sleep. I have received copies of my medical notes and of the forms that were submitted to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, and found proof of serious irregularities in the way that my treatment with ECT and drugs was given.