Standardize, Regulate & Audit Shock Treatments (Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT)

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My doctor dropped the electrical force equivalent of a 73-pound weight onto my head 116 times. He continued treatment without routinely assessing for brain injury – with permission of more than 25 other doctors at the hospital – because Electroconvulsive therapy (also called electroshock therapy) is not regulated or audited by a third-party regulator. 

I am not the only one. Thousands of patients like me are being treated with unregulated electroshock therapy right now. In 2017, the hospital that treated me reported that they gave 4,055 ECT treatments and collected $13.9M from ECT reimbursements alone. And that’s just one hospital.

Today (a decade after I quit treatment), I live with the effects of a repetitive head injury much like those recognized in athletes. Now, I suffer from symptoms including 36 years of memory loss, migraines, early onset Dementia, and slurred speech due to motor neuron malfunction.

Technically my symptoms fall "outside the scope of practice" for most neurologists in the area because no one specializes in repetitive electrical injury to the head. That’s because this type of treatment isn’t actually regulated or audited.

Join me in demanding American Psychiatric Association improve patient care by creating a set of standards for shock therapy treatment by signing this petition. I'm also targeting other top international psychiatric associations in hopes that this will be a global outcry that will lead to a global solution. There needs to be official regulations to ensure that practitioners are properly trained to give appropriate treatment.

People referred for Electroconvulsive therapy (and their family members) deserve complete information pertaining to risks of permanent brain damage now recognized by the device manufacturer. Patients deserve to understand that until the method of administration technique is standardized, regulated and audited to ensure protocols are followed, they cannot reasonably expect positive outcomes from this form of treatment.

Patients and their family members must understand that doctors and device manufacturers cannot say that negative outcomes are "rare" because without standardized treatment, no one can understand how rare or common negative outcomes are. Patients and family members must understand that this treatment can potentially cause a repetitive head injury which doctors do not understand how to treat. Not telling patients and their family members about manufacturer recognized risks is negligence.

Assuming a person (or their family member) does not need to fully understand the risks involved with treatment because of the severity of present mental health symptoms is discrimination. Humans have the right to choose whether or not they receive a treatment based on fully informed consent. Humans deserve appropriate follow-up care if/when they are injured. Doctors deserve to be fully informed of the risk of permanent brain damage to which they are exposing their patients and understand they are providing a treatment which can potentially cause symptoms that are outside their scope of practice to follow-up on and treat appropriately.

This petition (outlined in the updates) prevents risk of brain damage, establishes protocols to identify if/when a patient is injured and provides rehabilitation when injured.