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Electroshock Survivor Leads Successful Protest Near Portland, Oregon

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Here is a report and photos from a successful grassroots protest. Deborah Schwartzkopff is a survivor of multiple electroshocks (electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) in Oregon private psychiatric institutions. She single-handedly called for a peaceful protest on Wednesday, 27 June 2012, in front of her shock facility, 12 miles south of Portland in Clackamas, Oregon. MindFreedom helped sponsor the protest. (Updated 6 July 2012.)

Electroshock Survivor Leads Successful Protest Near Portland, Oregon

Deborah Schwartzkopff, RN organized this protest of electroshock on 27 June 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon.


Electroshock Survivor Initiates Successful Protest


Deborah Schwartzkopff identifies herself as a survivor of electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or electroshock. In ECT, electricity is run through the brain, inducing a convulsion, supposedly to treat psychiatric problems. 

Ms. Schwartzkopff called for an electroshock protest, MindFreedom helped publicize it, and protesters say it went well. A total of 14 people participated, including Deborah's psychiatrist, Dr. Malika Burman, MD, and several of Deborah's relatives. Most protesters are shown in the above right photo, click it for a close-up.

They held up signs at the intersection of Sunnyside & Stevens roads, directly in front of Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital in Clackamas, Oregon, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

Those present said this is an extremely busy intersection, with lots of exposure, and there were lots of supporting honks from passing cars.

Two security officers were apparently assigned to keep an eye on protesters

Cindi Fisher Protests Electroshock at KaiserThose in attendance included Cindi Fisher from the group MOMS (photo on right); Alan Smith from Rethinking Psychiatry); Dr. Burman & daughter; plus four people from Citizens Commission for Human Rights of Oregon, including Ron Hatteberg, who provided the protest photographs here.

Just One Electroshock Survivor Made a Difference

deborah-schwartzkopff.jpgDeborah Schwartzkopff (photo on lower right) identifies herself as a survivor of electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or electroshock. In ECT, electricity is run through the brain, inducing a convulsion, supposedly to treat psychiatric problems. 

Ms. Schwartzkopff, who notes she is a Registered Nurse (RN), initiated the call for a peaceful protest directly in front of the facility she says administered her electroshocks: Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital. MindFreedom International's Initiative on Electroshock and Human Rights helped to sponsor the protest. 

She said the psychiatrist electroshocked her without her true informed consent, and she was not adequately warned that it would cause memory loss. 


More Than 60 Electroshocks


In an interview with Ms. Schwartzkopff by MindFreedom, she said the last time she had her electroshock was 2010. All told she has had more than 60 of them, from the years 2003 to 2010. She reports experiencing devastating memory problems. 

During the recent years 2009 to 2010, Ms. Schwartzkopff said she had 36 electroshocks that were 'bilateral,' that is, the electrodes were affixed to both sides of her head, impacting both hemispheres of her brain. 

MindFreedom has received other complaints of electroshock throughout Oregon.

Deborah organized the protest to be held outside the hospital, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. 


The location: 

Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center

10180 Sunnyside Road, 

Clackamas, OR 97015

For a Google map click here:


She mainly tried to get others that are survivors of electroshock to stand by her, but all allies are encouraged to offer their support. If you would like to thank her for her protest, or network with her, Deborah is at 503-537-0997 or

In January 2011, the only US Food & Drug Administration public hearing about the electroshock devices concluded that for most purposes, the efficacy and safety of the ECT device has not been proven. 

Oregon has one of the two USA manufacturers of the electroshock device, MECTA. Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) is a well-known promoter of ECT, and even pioneered the experimental "multiple monitored" ECT where several jolts are given at one session - something that Ms. Schwartzkopff said she has experienced.   

For more info about electroshock, see the MindFreedom Knowledge Base. 




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Dorothy Dundas

While institutionalized for three years as an adolescent in the 1960's, MindFreedom member Dorothy Washburn Dundas was labeled a "schizophrenic" and forced to undergo 40 combined insulin coma-electroshock "treatments." Dorothy says, "I experienced and witnessed many atrocities. I believe that luck, determination, and my own anger and one compassionate advocate were my best friends on the road to my ultimate survival and freedom." Through a number of op-ed pieces, she has voiced her opposition to abusive psychiatric practices. Her poster, "Behind Locked Doors," which she created from her hospital records, is used in training programs. Dorothy lives in the Boston area where she has raised her four wonderful children. She founded and is the sole driver in her "safe, friendly and reliable" car service called The Crystal Lake Express.
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