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Letters for Ray Sandford and Against Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock

A sample of the many letters written in support of Ray Sandford's right to say "no" to being escorted from his home for court-ordered electroshock. Thank you to those who have written, and shared your concern with the MindFreedom office. At the bottom are links to alerts so you can keep on speaking out!


We Support You Ray!


November 7, 2008

Open Letter to Governor Pawlenty:

Dear Governor:

I wonder if you know what is going on in your state and if you think it is o.k.? 

Ray Sandford lives in the community in a building called VICTORY HOUSE, 4427 Monroe St, Columbia Heights. When I got the call that Ray had called MindFreedom saying he wanted to quit getting electroshock (ECT) treatment, I called Health Facility Complaints office. I also called the Department of Human Services. I found out that the building is Registered, not Licensed, but I could not get a phone  number. Actually, I was given two numbers, both discontinued. Then I realized the house is in Anoka County. I called there two places and  there was no one who could give me a phone number. However, I did find an Ombudsman who said, "No one has to take any medications they do not want, nor electroshock treatment." Huh? How long had she been an Ombudsman? 18 years. After 23 years as an advocate for people grabbed up into the mental health system, I have run across many people being forced to take medications and even ECT they do not want.

Please know that ECT has nothing to recommend it. It has not been found to do any good, except in some cases in short term. However, it is devastating to most people in that it destroys their short term memory and that memory deficit is lasting. I had ECT myself in 1955 and recovered most of my memory by 1962. This was a kinder, gentler nation then, as I was allowed to go home and get off medications.  Now, no one is allowed to get off medications.

Anyway, I figured out that the reason Ray Sandford was forced to endure ECT, even though his mother was supportive of his request to stop, was because he had been appointed a Conservator. This is a common practice, in Minnesota, to appoint a Conservator, even though the patient has family involved. The Conservator gives consent for medications and ECT.

Governor, we know that other states do not allow these things to happen. Can you please look into this and see what can be done?

Sincerely,
Louise Bouta, Executive Director
Well Mind Association of Minnesota
Richfield, MN

____________________________________________________________________________

November 7, 2008

To: Governor Pawlenty
Subject: Forced electroshock

I am a licensed clinical social worker in the mental health field.  I recently was unpleasantly surprised to hear that a resident of your state, Ray Sandford, is being forced to submit to "electroshock therapy" on a weekly basis, despite his protests that he wants it to end.  It is amazing that a so-called therapy that has been proven to damage brains and even frequently kill people (1 in 200 by some  estimates) and that has not been proven effective beyond a few weeks, 
is being forced on someone against their wishes.  I urge you to take prompt action on behalf of Ray's human rights, and put an end to this unwanted "treatment."
Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Ron Unger LCSW

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

I am dismayed to learn of the involuntary ECT that is being imposed on Ray Sandford without his consent at the Mercy Hospital in your state.

The World Health Organisation has made it very clear that ECT should never be given without consent, for numerous very good reasons.  It is particularly disturbing that Minnesota is inflicting this unacceptable 'treatment' without consent on Mr Sandford as an outpatient.  I urge you to intervene immediately to protect Mr Sandford's rights as a citizen of your state.

Regards - Dr David Webb
Melbourne, Australia

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray Sandford is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock.

I almost couldn't believe what I was reading when I read the email from MindFreedom. Are you aware of this? Are you party to this? Are you crazy? This is barbarism! What is wrong with Americans? I knew you were partial to torturing 'foreigners', but I'm shocked to hear you're torturing your own citizens (well maybe not shocked, after all the other atrocities - but surprised).

Forced electroshock is a human rights violation.  I'll be widely circulating MindFreedom's information, and look forward to hearing about the criminalization of this procedure in Minnesota, the rest of the U.S. and the world.

Sharon Burns
Vancouver, Canada

cc:     Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN)
    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
    Allina Hospital and Clinics

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear Governor,

I am a survivor of electroshock and a human rights activist.  I am outraged to find out that Ray Stanford is forced to receive electroshock against his will.

Do you know that the latest research lead by a lifelong defender and promoter of shock treatment, Harold Sackheim, and a team of investigators has published a follow up study of 347 patients given the currently available methods of electroshock, including the supposedly most benign forms, and confirmed that electroshock causes permanent brain damage and dysfunction?  Please stop this abuse of Ray Stanford dressed up as 'care'.

Yours,
Mary Maddock, Cork, Ireland

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008
Governor Pawlenty:

The State of Minnesota is torturing one of its residents, a man named Ray Sandford, every Wednesday.
Mr. Sandford is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock.  This barbaric practice should cease.  Taxpayer money should not fund torture!

John M. Ryan
Las Cruces, New Mexico

____________________________________________________________________________ 

November 8, 2008

To: Gov. Tim Pawlenty

I received an email from Mind Freedom International this evening describing the horror of weekly ECT treatments that Mr. Sandford is being subjected to.  Apparently Mr. Sandford is taken from his group home each Wednesday to Mercy Hospital where a shock treatment is administered on an outpatient basis.  If this information is true I beg you to do whatever you can to put a stop to this abuse of a helpless constituent of yours. David Oaks, Director of Mind Freedom International, verified Ray's story with two people at Victory House and spoke with Ray Sandford's conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Support Services of Minnesota.  Ms Wilhelm apparently claims the State of Minnesota has secured a variety of court orders that require Ray to have forced electroshock against his will.  She claims it is legal and she can do nothing about it.  If it is legal and she can do nothing about it, it is time to figure out who can do something about it.  It seems to me that perhaps Mr. Sandford's mental condition should be evaluated by different psychiatrists who are not affiliated with the one who is probably making $1000 a crack administering these treatments.

I was subjected to involuntary shock myself 30 years ago in California.  It is the worst thing that ever happened to me.  My psychiatrist refused to allow another opinion or sign off the case, so after the 6th shock treatment I sat by the telephone book for 6  hours until I could focus my eyes well enough to call an attorney.   It took a court order, but I got rid of that shrink.  I was 30 years old at the time.  It took me 9 months to review all my pharmacy books and remember enough of my pharmacy school education to return to work.  I worked as a hospital pharmacist for 18 years, then went to work for the Department of Regulatory Agencies in Colorado.  I have lasting brain damage and had to retire at 50. I know exactly how this poor man feels being subjected to involuntary ECT, and I do not care what it takes, I want this to stop!  There really is NO medical justification for shock.   If it "works" for depression it's only because the patient does not remember what bothered him to begin with.  An excellent source is Peter Breggin, MD www.breggin.com.

Again I am relying on hearsay, but if Mr. Sandford's conservator is unwilling or unable to help him to get this involuntary abuse stopped,  it sounds like she needs to be replaced.  Apparently when David Oaks  told her he was going to issue this public human rights alert that I am responding to, Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop  him!  She apparently  divulged privileged private patient information  about Mr. Sandford to  David Oaks, so I think it was a little late  then to decide she for some reason could stop HIM from making what she said public when Mr. Sandford had requested help from MindFreedom.  She apparently hinted that involuntary outpatient electroshock is not that uncommon in Minnesota, so maybe she really does think treating helpless patients this way is OK.  This is not OK.  This is still the USA, not yet the USSA.   Ms. Wilhelm told him,  "Only I can give you permission legally to say anything publicly about this".  David Oaks pointed out that they are not a medical facility and if she claims he is doing anything illegal that is defamation which IS illegal.  Apparently she laughed loudly and said,  "Let our lawyers talk".  I am not a lawyer, but I would LOVE to talk  to her!  In my younger days I represented the Network Against  Psychiatric Assault in California.  You are a lawyer, and I WISH you would talk to her about public relations and human rights and some of  those things she must have slept through in school.  Actually, it might be easier to just refer Ms. Wilhelm to career placement services--maybe McDonald's is hiring.

I suggest you have your Medical people review this case and what this useless "therapy" is costing the taxpayers.  I'd bet your taxpayers are paying $5000/month easy.  Are your judges really stupid enough to require that to go on needlessly month after month? I can guarantee you that money could be better spent on dental care for children or some other program that actually benefits the recipient.  I'd be happy to review these charts for you myself (for a modest fee of course) if you'd like to forward them to me.

I also wonder what the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee of Mercy Hospital is doing.  Maybe they need money, but P&T is supposed to review what goes on in that place.

The pharmacists and physicians I have met and/or worked with who were graduates of the University of Minnesota were some of the best in their fields.  I suspect the high quality of the practice of medicine in Minnesota was responsible for so many victims of the bridge collapse surviving.  I know nothing of the Mental Health system in your state, but if this is any example it needs a comprehensive evaluation and review.  This is terrible.  Tax payer money is being wasted to subject people to torture.  Surely if the victims of this have anywhere to go they leave the state to get away from it.  That's why you never (until now) hear of shock being administered on an outpatient basis.

I suspect you will get hundreds of emails about this case.  I trust and pray you will take appropriate action.

Sincerely,
Roberta Kneisel
Grand Junction, CO

____________________________________________________________________________

 
November 8, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty:

I was SHOCKED to learn about the forced electroSHOCK "therapy" which Ray Sandford is forced to endure every Wednesday morning at "Mercy" Hospital. How sickening - I plan to notify news agencies on various websites and forums.  Your office must investigate this crime and resolve this as soon as possible.  We have vacationed in Minnesota, my son at age 10 was a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester -  Minnesota is a beautiful state with beautiful people.  Why would you allow this torture to occur on your watch???

I am a MindFreedom member, and testify at Oregon's legislature as the mother of a child who was treated horrifically by psychologists (he actually had an undiagnosed gastrointestinal disorder, which caused chronic nausea and vomiting, which naturally led to "anxiety" when trying to find a receptacle whenever he left the house).  The mental  "health" system in this country needs a complete overhaul - will  Minnesota be part of the problem or part of the solution?

Karen Cormac-Jones
Salem, Oregon

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear sir:

If you can please stop this inhumane treatment of another human being this is like forced torture please stop doing this to ray and anyone else by force people need choices. this is a horrible human rights  injustice ...please stop this...

Isaac S Brown 

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

To Gov. Pawlenty:

It is abhorrent that this is still being, or ever has been used, on people against their will. I know this to be true, personally. I was in Damish about 40 years ago, they used low electrical shocks for  fifteen minutes! My 'job' was to re-orient person who had just been through a long seizure, give them their dental plates back, comb their hair, and tell them their name, that was to threaten me with  the same, if I acted-out. I have deep empathy for this man, particularly because it is his right, to say no. At least that is the law in Oregon.

Thank you,
Marjorie Sharp

____________________________________________________________________________
 
November 8, 2008

Good morning, Governor/LSS Staff/Evangelical Church elders/Allina staff!

I have just learned about an appalling, appalling case of weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford. After extensive research, MindFreedom, a human rights organization based in the US has discovered the following:

Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom found out that Ray Sanford is brought  from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock immediately! No money, EVER, should be used for this domestically  sanctioned torture which is cruel and inhumane, not to mention completely ineffective in treating mental health disorders.  Add insult to injury: I have learned that taxpayer money is being used to  fund this domestic torture!  OMG - I'm sure the population of  Minnesota would be OUTRAGED if they found out what their hard-earned  dollars are being used for!!!!!  Outraged. And given our current  political climate where people are feeling empowered to make changes happen in this country, their outrage will be civilly, legally  expressed.  Take it from there.

If you or your staff or your Mental Health community want to learn about the history of electroshock treatment in the world and actually find useful, effective methods to handle mental health problems, feel free to email me back. You should not be swimming in an ocean with no lifejacket.

Anoush NeVart

____________________________________________________________________________ 

November 8, 2008

Dear Governor,

It has just come to my attention that Ray Sanford, a resident of Victory House, is being taken to Mercy Hospital every Wednesday for electroshock treatments that are being given against his will.   Involuntary shock treatments are cruel and inhumane.  Mr. Sanford has no ability to stop this torture that is entirely against his will.   His conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, has done her best to stop a public human rights alert by Mind Freedom International about this matter.

I am a retired counselor.  I have worked with a number of clients who had in the past experienced what they described as torture from forced electroshock.  Not only do such people experience significant memory loss, they also suffer extreme symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.  I beg you to investigate this matter and stop this violation of Mr. Sanford's human and civil rights.

Sincerely,
Sara Graham 
____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

To Gov. Pawlenty:

Please investigate the weekly involuntary electroshock treatment of Ray Sandford.  Every Wednesday morning, Ray is brought from Victoria House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for electroshock.  MindFreedom International has verified that this treatment is being done and that it has been court ordered at the request of Ray's Conservator Tonya Wilhelm, who works for Luthern Social Services of Minnesota.  In addition to investigating Ray's case, you should see if there are others being tortured against their will in your state.  Taxpayer dollars should be used to support mental health recovery programs, not torture!

Sincerely,
Jamelia  Saied
Anchorage, AK.

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear Sir:

I understand that involuntary electroshock "treatment" is occurring at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is in reference to the case of Ray Sandford of Victory House. Please put a stop to this barbarism immediately! Electroshock is not a valid therapy and should be classified as torture and a severe violation of basic human rights.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Best,
Charlie Maselli
La Canada, California

____________________________________________________________________________

November 8, 2008

Dear Sir:

I cannot believe the state of Minnesota allows involuntary electroshock. This is a violation of the Human Rights Doctrine adopted by the United Nations.  This is inhumane torture, and not based upon any scientific evidence that it actually helps people.  Rather, it maims them further mentally.

Please investigate this involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford.  Per MindFreedom, Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Please stop this immediately.  This is torture, not medical treatment. This is a waste of taxpayer's money, also, especially as the psychiatric profession has absolutely no data to support such sadism as being beneficial.

Yours very truly,
Jerrye Albert       
____________________________________________________________________________

November 08,2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

The plight of Ray Sandford has come to my attention. As an at large MindFreedom International advocate of a nonviolent revolution in mental health I would like to politely request the cessation of  the involuntary outpatient electro-convulsive treatments of Mr. Sandford. He is frightened by the prospect of even more irreversible harm from this archaic remnant of pseudo-science. I appeal to you on his behalf to stop the torturous treatment being funded by the taxpayers.

Investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of  Ray Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer money should not fund torture!"
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Thomas E. Hughes
Indianapolis, IN

My comment to LSSMN:

I myself am a Christian and an admirer of the bravery of Martin Luther. I myself have been a recipient of forced psychiatric treatment (drugs) in my home state of Indiana. A great deal of time has passed since I was last coercively drugged. I am an at large advocate member of MindFreedom International and am opposed to forced psychiatric treatment.

It has come to my attention that one of your clients is being subjected to involuntary Electroconvulsive "Therapy" - ECT. His name is Ray Sanford.  Although MindFreedom Intl. is a secular organization I feel a personal responsibility to warn you that the very name of Luther is being hijacked to promote a human rights abuse. I am deeply affected by this tragic irony befalling Mr. Ray Sanford. I believe that even proven terrorist enemies of the nation are not subjected to such torture as is befalling Ray Sanford. Each Wednesday morning Ray is removed from his home and forcibly submitted to a set of conditions (ECT) whose core effect can not be proven to be other than an  iatrogenic (meaning that the injury is of a nature that leaves the subject unaware of his previously more highly functioning state)  brain injury such as can also be witnessed in victims of blunt force  cerebral trauma. Mr. Sanford's situation seems horribly contrary to the spirit of the memory of the courageousness of your namesake.

Investigate allegations that LSSMN employee Tonya Wilhelm tried to stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about other client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly outpatient involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. If verified, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm, and please place this in her permanent personnel record. Please support human rights.

Thomas E. Hughes
Indianapolis, IN
____________________________________________________________________________ 

November 8, 2008

Dear Sir,

It was recently brought to my attention that a gentleman by the name of Ray Sanford, (Victory House, 4427 Monroe St., Columbia Heights, MN is involuntarily receiving Electro Convulsive Therapy -  shock treatment.

ECT is a barbaric treatment forced off on unsuspecting people.  Get a group of ECT patients in front of you and check out how they currently live.  You will find that they are not doing so well and the psychiatric excuse "they should have been treated earlier" is just bunk.  Please help Ray.  He is just a man and doesn't need this cruelty.

Sincerely,
Oliver Asato
____________________________________________________________________________

November 9, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

Today I learned that the state of Minnesota is forcing its residents into elctro-convulsive therapy against their will. I wanted to say, I am appalled. This is an invasive procedure that works by causing irreversible brain damage to the recipient. For the government to force brain damage upon its citizens, which it sworn to protect, is unacceptable. Even criminals have more rights than this.

Please look into the case of Ray Sanford, of Columbia Heights, Minnesota. Ray is not a criminal, he has done no wrong. He deserves to have the freedom to choose his course of treatment just as you or I.

Every Wednesday morning, Ray is taken to Minneapolis where he is forced to undergo court-order ECT. Ray has contacted Mind Freedom, a human rights advocacy group, and declared he wants these treatments to stop. He says they interfere with his memory. Sometimes, he can't remember the name of his favorite niece. Beyond that, as he puts it, the treatments are "Scary as hell".

Perhaps you are unaware of this, but the United Nations World Health Organization has called for a global ban on involuntary shock treatments. Ray's human rights are being violated. What is just as concerning is the callousness of Ray's court-appointed conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Support Services of Minnesota. This women has been assigned by the state to look out for Ray and his best interest. Yet when contacted by Mind Freedom, not only was she unsympathetic to Ray's plight and indeed, implied it is common in your state), but she threatened legal action if anyone chose to speak out on Ray's behalf.

This gross violation of human rights cannot be allowed to continue in Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty, PLEASE find it within yourself to look into this and do something to help Ray and others like him in your state. How much longer must this continue?

Sincerely,
Kathleen McGowan 

____________________________________________________________________________

November 9, 2008

Governor,

I am a foreigner and  a member of Mind Freedom International, a human rights based group with many members, many of whom have experience with mental health issues past and present. I would ask you most sincerely to have the appropriate persons within your government  look into the case of the Minnesota resident Ray Sandford. Surely a person aged 55 who is able to both object to his Mental Health Team and go to a library and research my organization's existence, then telephone our Executive and have a cogent conversation via telephone -does not require "forced" mental health treatment as radical and controversial as ECT is. ECT is proven to have only short term positive effects while prolonged treatment of this nature damages memory beyond repair. I believe we as human beings need memory for our very soul's sake. Save Ray Sandford! Let's let the individual have the right to a memory and as undamaged a brain as possible with psychotherapy, peer support and an adequate housing and income for the disabled. Thank-you.....the law allowing ECT to be forced needs urgently to be repealed.

Respectfully,
Beverly Honold
Victoria, BC, Canada 

____________________________________________________________________________

Sun, 9 Nov 2008

Dear Gov. Pawlenty:

I know I am not a Minnesota citizen.  However, you have become a top leader in the Republican Party and a potential candidate for president in 2012 -- and with such status comes responsibility to a  nationwide audience.

If the news report about what is happening to Mr. Sandford, who is a Minnesota citizen, is even partially true, his rights as an American citizen under the Bill of Rights and as a world citizen under the U.N. Charter of Human Rights are being violated in almost unbelievable ways.

So I ask that, since you are receiving similar inquiries from others in the national mental health community, you will have this matter promptly and thoroughly investigated by a neutral, outside party.  If  the allegations are found to be true, I trust the mistreatment of Mr. Sandford will end immediately, he will receive PROPER medical care, and those responsible will be punished severely.

Regards,
Larry Parker
New Rochelle, NY

____________________________________________________________________________ 

November 9, 2008

Hello,

I am writing in response to an email I received from MindFreedom regarding the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital  for forced electroshock.  I am concerned about this for three reasons:

1) I have worked in psychiatric hospitals, and electroshock is rarely used and is the last treatment of choice for suicidal depression.  Because of the brutality and devastating after-effects of this 
treatment, most psychiatrists I have met do not use it, especially as advances in medication and cognitive-behavioral therapies make electroshock unnecessary.  Also, electroshock is usually only administered on an occasional, emergency basis, not as an ongoing therapy.  It is also much more expensive than other effective treatments, taking resources away from other patients in need. I find this treatment of Mr. Sandford disturbing both as a violation of his human rights, and also as an example of bad medical practice.

2) People needing psychiatric treatment are often reluctant to seek help because of the stigma and loss of rights that can accompany treatment such as that being forced upon Mr. Sandford now.  This harms many people and communities beyond the immediate area of Mr. Sandford’s community, as there are effective and humane medical interventions that work for depression and other mental health issues.  The health of individuals, their families, and their communities can be greatly helped or hurt by the type of mental health treatment given, and the treatment of Mr. Sandford is the kind that hurts us all.

3) Funding and support for mental health treatment is often hampered by negative images of psychiatric hospitals and mental health providers.  As a taxpayer, I find it repugnant to think that public money is being used to provide inappropriately expensive and harmful treatment to a person who needs more humane treatment.  As a provider of mental health services, it scares me that already scarce funding for appropriate community and mental health services can be threatened by outdated treatments and attitudes such as those displayed in the case of Mr. Ray Sandford.

For these and other reasons, I strongly encourage your office to investigate this case and stop all forced electroshock today.  Taxpayer money should not fund outdated and harmful treatments of 
vulnerable people needing help and support.

Karen Creighton
Eugene, OR 97401

____________________________________________________________________________

November 9, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

I am asking you to please investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of one of your constituents, Ray Sandford, and intercede on his behalf. Every Wednesday morning without fail, MindFreedom says Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. This is truly appalling, inhumane and dangerous in terms of permanent amnesia and cognitive deficits. More than anything, electroshock is truly torturous and a violation of Ray's human rights.  Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or  punishment." Governor  Pawlenty, I implore you to please stop all  forced electroshock today! Taxpayer money definitely should not be funding such torture!  Thank you, Sir.

Sincerely,
Leah Friedman
Los Angeles, CA

MY LETTER TO LSSMN WITH A CC TO ELCA:

I am asking you to please investigate allegations that LSSMN employee, Tonya Wilhelm, tried to stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about her client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly outpatient involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis against his will. If this is verified to be true, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm, and please place this in her permanent personnel record. I implore you to please support human rights. Thank you so much.

Yours truly,
Leah Friedman.
Los Angeles, CA

MY LETTER TO ALLINA HOSPITAL:

I am asking you to please investigate allegations that one of your patients, Ray Sandford, of Victory House is receiving involuntary outpatient electroconvulsive therapy against his will each Wednesday at Mercy Hospital. This is truly appalling and inhumane, and more than anything, electroshock is a pure violation of Ray's human rights.  Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,
Leah Friedman.

MY LETTER TO RAY:

Ray, please know that you are not alone. You have an amazing support group fighting for you, and we will keep fighting the good fight until justice is done! Keep the faith and never give up!
With love,
Leah Friedman.
Los Angeles, CA

____________________________________________________________________________ 

November 9, 2008

The Honorable Governor Pawlenty:

I am writing to you to express my outrage that a citizen of Minnesota is being forcibly electroshocked.  Ray Sandford of Victory House in Columbia Heights is brought every Wednesday for forcible electroshock to Mercy Hospital.  As a citizen of Minnesota myself, I am outraged that this torture is happening, that a fellow citizen is being electroshocked against his will.  Taxpayer money should not be used for this torture.  As well, it should be against the law to forcibly electroshock anyone whether they are an inpatient or an outpatient.  Electroshock erases memories and impairs the functioning of the brain.  It is a torture that should never be used for any reason, certainly not against someone's will.  This was brought to my attention by Mind Freedom, based in Oregon, headed by David Oaks.  I am a member of Mind Freedom.  I am against torture and the use of force in the psychiatric system.  Which is interesting, because when you take away the abuse and the torture and the use of force in the psychiatric system, there's not much left.  As Governor, please let me know what you are doing to prevent forcible electroshock and forcible drugging in our state, and particularly the forcible electroshock in the case of Mr. Sandford.

Christopher Heimarck
Dilworth, MN 

To Allina, owner of Mercy Hospital
11/9/2008
Regarding:  Allegations regarding involuntary electroshock of your patient Ray Sandford of Victory House, Columbia Heights, Minnesota

Please investigate allegations that your patient Ray Sandford of Victory House is receiving involuntary outpatient electroconvulsive therapy against his will each Wednesday at Mercy Hospital.  I am a member of MindFreedom, based in Oregon, and that is how I received information about this human rights violation.  No one should be forcibly electroshocked.

Sincerely,
Christopher Heimarck

To:  ELCA
Date:  11/9/2008
Regarding:  Lutheran Social Services conservator Tonya Wilhelm

It has come to my attention, through my membership in the human rights group MindFreedom,
that Lutheran Social Services conservator Tonya Wilhelm tried to stop  a public human rights
alert by MindFreedom International, about her client, Ray Sandford,  who is receiving weekly
outpatient involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. Please investigate whether this is true, whether indeed Ms. Wilhelm tried to stop David Oaks, head of MindFreedom, from issuing this human rights alert, and if verified, please educate your staff about ethics and legality of such a situation.  First, no one should be involuntarily electroshocked, and if it is legal, the law should be changed, and the ELCA should stand up
for human rights on this point in trying to change the law, rather than simply going along with it.
If you simply say you are obeying orders, that is no excuse for not standing up for ethics
and human rights of the most powerless among us.  Second, it is not illegal for David Oaks,
on behalf of MindFreedom, to issue a human rights alert when someone's human rights are being violated.  I am a member of the Lutheran Church, ELCA, and  I would appreciate an answer.

Sincerely,
Christopher Heimarck

____________________________________________________________________________

November 9, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

There is a gross injustice against Ray Sandford, who  is being forced to have electroshock treatment as an out-patient at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis every Wednesday morning. This is against his will and is harming him physically and mentally. Please protect his human rights and investigate this and do everything you can to put a stop to this barbaric treatment of one of our fellow human beings. Ray's address is: Ray Sandford, Victory House, 4427 Monroe St., Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA.  Please help Ray Sandford!

And please put a halt on any electroshock treatments in Minnesota. It is a barbaric treatment that ruins lives and at times has caused death.

Anne Fewell

____________________________________________________________________________

November 10, 2008

Do you know that the latest research lead by a lifelong defender and promoter of shock treatment, Harold Sackheim, and a team of investigators has published a follow up study of 347 patients given  the currently available methods of electroshock, including the  supposedly most benign forms, and confirmed that electroshock causes permanent brain damage and dysfunction?  To force Ray Stanford against his will is clearly a violation of the  UN Charter on Human Rights as well as the recently adopted Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ray is coerced into receiving electroshock he finds destructive.  This is outrageous in a country which prides itself on liberty and freedom.  MindFreedom Ireland objects strongly to this bizarre behaviour.  Some of our members are electroshock survivors and know only too well the adverse effects of electroshock, commonly referred to as 'ECT'. This is tantamount to TORTURE not CARE.

Yours,
Mary and Jim Maddock
MindFreedom Ireland.

____________________________________________________________________________

November 11, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

I urge you to investigate the weekly involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer money should not fund what is tantamount to torture!

There are many other therapies available that are less traumatic and often more effective. Since Mr. Sandford, like many others, does not have the financial resources to fight a prolonged legal battle, I urge you to seek additional professional advice on his behalf so he may get mental health treatment, not mistreatment.

Further, Mr. Sandford's conservator, Ms. Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN) appears unwilling or unable to act in Mr. Sandford's interest. She should be replaced and, in fact, reprimanded for resisting the investigation of Mr. Sandford's human rights. Please rectify what is likely good intentions that have gone bad, very bad.

Respectfully,
David Stern

____________________________________________________________________________ 


THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN ELECTROSHOCK (ICBE)                                
Ottawa, Ontario Canada

November 12, 2008

Dear  Governor Tim Pawlenty & Lt Governor Carol Molnau:

I am Sue Clark-Wittenberg and I am the director of the International Campaign to Ban Electroshock (ICBE) based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  My husband Steven Wittenberg is the assistant director of our center.  We formed our center last year in 2007 to lobby governments all over the world to ban electroshock universally.

We are emailing you today regarding Ray Sandford, who is 54 years old and undergoing forced electroshock treatments once a week.  Here are the facts: every Wednesday morning, Ray is escorted from his supported living home in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for another course of electroshock over his objection.  Ray gets his electroshock (ECT) against his expressed wishes as an outpatient using court orders and special Minnesota laws.

I am an electroshock survivor and activist.  I suffer from permanent memory loss and have difficulty learning new things. The ICBE deems electroshock to be unethical, barbaric and inhumane. 100,000 Americans get electroshock yearly.  There are many reports and studies that prove that electroshock (ECT) causes brain damage 100% of the time.

We are demanding that Ray Sandford's forced electroshock end now! Electroshock is crime against humanity and the ICBE, our center deems electroshock to be torture.

My husband and I both left separate messages by phone today to you, governor regarding the above.  Are you going to do something about this urgent situation regarding Ray Sandford?  His human rights depends on it.

Regards,
Sue Clark-Wittenberg
Steven  Wittenberg

____________________________________________________________________________

November 12, 2008

Dear Governor Pawlenty,

The brain is a terrible thing to damage. And damaging the brain is precisely what electroshock (ECT) does.  By damaging the brain, ECT robs people of their memories, their personality, and their humanity. It reduces their capacity to lead full, meaningful lives; it crushes their spirits. Put simply, electroshock is a method for gutting the brain in order to control and punish people who fall or step out of line, and intimidate others who are on the verge of doing so.  I urge you to use your authority to immediately halt the involuntary electroshocking of Ray Sandford.

Yours truly,
Leonard Roy Frank
San Francisco, CA

About the writer: he underwent forced insulin-electroshock in the 1960s and edited "Random House Webster's Quotationary" in 1998 and “The Electroshock Quotationary" (2005), a 156-page history of ECT which is downloadable free of charge at (www.endofshock.com/102C_ECT.PDF)


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Paula Joan Caplan, PhD

Paula Caplan, PhD: Psychologist, author, playwright and activist who is challenging the harm caused by psychiatric labeling. Paula is a long-time member of MindFreedom International. Author of 12 nonfiction books. Her latest book, "When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans," uncovers the way too many people traumatized by war are told that that makes them “mentally ill.” Her book won the 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in the Psychology category.
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