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Local Minnesota television station WCCO reports on Ray Sandford's challenge to his court ordered ECT.

"Patient Tries To Stop Court-Ordered Shock Therapy"

Date Published:

Dec 16, 2008 01:00 AM

Author: Darcy Pohland

Source: WCCO

For the full article, including video, please click here.



Raymond Sandford, 54, was in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday urging a judge to stop the court-ordered electroshock therapy treatment.


It's a controversial medical treatment that's been used on people with mental illnesses for decades. The use of electroshock therapy is now being battled in court by a man forced to use it.

Raymond Sandford, 54, was in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday urging a judge to stop the court-ordered treatment.

The treatment sends an electric current through the brain to cause seizures. Some patients with mental illness say it helps them tremendously, but Raymond says it doesn't help him.

"They have been giving him every week and he was really dreading it. And Raymond cried, which he doesn't do. He called me up and cried said 'Mother, I hate this. I'm afraid, it's awful," said Raymond's mother Marilyn Sandford.

Since he was a teenager, Raymond's mother said he's been plagued with bipolar, manic symptoms.

"What he does is definitely not socially acceptable," said Marilyn.

So six months ago when his group home stuff and doctors noticed his behavior becoming increasingly out of control, they won a court order to administer electroshock therapy.

"I knew how long they'd been trying various drugs and so I thought, well, maybe this will work," said Raymond's mother.

In Ramsey County Court on Tuesday, doctors testified that the shock therapy was effective and Raymond's condition was improving.

"When I became upset is when it just kept going on and on," Marilyn said.

She fears Raymond may be getting too much electricity too frequently, just to subdue him.

"I guess what I would like to see is the electrotherapy be as need," she said.

Because of her advanced age, Raymond's mother worried about who would be responsible for his well being when she died. So she arranged to have Lutheran Social Services be his legal guardian.

They wouldn't talk about him but they agreed with the doctors in court that the electrotherapy was helping.

Ramsey County District Civil Court Judge Mary Beth Dorn took the matter under advisement but an assistant Ramsey County Attorney thinks due to the medical nature of this case she will make a decision fairly soon.

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Ted Chabasinski

Ted received electroshock at the age of six, and spent 10 years of his youth locked up inside a state psychiatric institution. He became a psychiatric survivor movement leader in 1971, and later became an attorney. He has served on the board of MindFreedom International for several years. (Photo by Tom Olin)
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