Je Suis Garth
Letter to Dr Katz,
Upton House, Box Hill Hospital,
Dear Dr Katz,
Now I have some sage advice for you Doctor Katz, since you didn’t change your ways last time. I think I should give you a little bit of a motherly pep talk, or maybe some ‘Hard Chat.’ I know I make you uncomfortable; but the truth hurts, so don’t turn away again. Take your medicine: it’s good for you. Are you sitting down, are you paying attention? Right I’m ready to go….
So we are now on Chapter two of the Garth Daniels expose. The first chapter took twenty years of unremitting, shall we say, mismanagement at one end and what looks to me like torture and mistreatment of a defenseless patient at the other. Being a mentally ill patient makes him no less a human patient than the mainstream. He hasn’t ceased to exist as an individual like many in the mental health system.
So, just to recap for the readers……The story began when a normal boy did what a lot of normal boys do, that most unwisely, he smoked a bit of ‘Pot.’ Sadly the friends he hung out with at the time, more than likely spiked him with something heavier. As the fog receded, he developed a crippling headache. So with the best of intentions, Garth, still a normal boy went to the Emergency Department of, I hear, a major Melbourne hospital to get help with the headache.
Normal boys, girls, mothers, fathers, uncle aunts, grandparents and little children go there to Emergency Departments all the time.The paradox is, when those people sit down on the padded vinyl chairs in E.D. they don’t suspect what could lie ahead for one in five.
They are normal people doing what normal people do, but naïve and sometimes being misled by career doctors. They think they are in the safest place in the world to be sickest, and that would be a hospital. But that’s far from the truth.
I don’t want to overstate the next part of the story. It could take away from the punch line of the last tragic endings. The story unfolds….
You know about this story Dr Katz, don’t you? It probably flags you every day.That one in five of each family universally is deemed by the Psychiatric Associations to have a mental illness that’s in need treatment, even before it’s diagnosed.
Little do these people know what’s in store for one of their family members, while quietly sitting behind the glass of the waiting room of a major hospital. It’s tragically like Garth Daniel’s experience some twenty years earlier.
Its import for psychiatry to keep these things low profile, so the universal strategy is that you don’t want to scare the horses before rounding them up. For it only takes one experimental pill slipped into the mouths of innocents, and they are trapped like rabbits in a cage, a feral cat or a runaway snake in a bag with nowhere to go. One wrong pill, and their loved one could be torn from the family and spirited away for a lifetime of cruelty in a psychiatric unit. You know Dr Katz, that antipsychotic medications given to a person with a normal brain causes psychosis and confusion. Is not in dispute.
I feel qualified to speak, because it happened to one of my family members too. Like Garth Daniels, after previously presenting with only a headache twenty years ago, the family find their loved one writhing, maybe sometimes hallucinating and strapped to a bed perhaps coming from a bad reaction coming from the wrong antipsychotic pill. It can go on for days, months, even years of higher and higher doses, while not everyone has the enzymes to metabolize them. I have a family member who has been in those shoes, also for twenty odd years. A lot of psychological and physical damage was done on forced treatments.
Then to compensate, poorly trained psychiatrists increase the dose to fix it for these people who have catastrophic outcomes: with more doses that’s when the psychosis explodes in intensity. Both the family and patient are terrified by this and will have no say once an involuntary treatment order is written. They are written out with reckless abandon.
A nurse or a social worker can write these legal things. There is then plenty of unending severe trauma to go round. With the growing hurt the patient must then be sedated senseless till they adjust. If they resist, what else is there for management to do but run an electric current through the patients brain to subdue them. This is happening in real time in a real way in hospitals around the world. It’s highly subdued. Retribution for speaking out is swift and savage. Just look what’s happening to Garth Daniels family for speaking out. From an active brain and a sharp hand on a camera Garth had a reasonable life with things to enjoy. Now with E.C.T treatment he has nothing, including his health. He is terrified his heart will fail or brain function collapse. It is a real possibility, because Dr Kats won’t order it stopped.
There aren’t enough staff at Upton House or anywhere else in Victorian Mental Health I can see. You and I know along with the patients and families don’t we Dr Katz. Garth’s family is kept away, as psychiatrists up the dose again trying to quell the psychosis, or sedate him, either or, but like putting salt on a wound it continues to worsen. Then not uncommonly their loved one deteriorates suddenly to an early death, sometimes screaming ‘no more antipsychotics.’ or trying unsuccessfully to avoid the next electric shock treatment. I say the way things are now, ‘Belsen,’ is looking attractive.
You know about the case of Garth Daniel’s and the family quest to free him from your grasp, but you hang on relentlessly, Dr Katz, determined to teach this fine united family that they should not cross you without there being retribution, or a rain of fire and brimstone upon them…… Do I have it right? The family wants to go to Queensland with his psychiatrist and Garth. You say no Dr Kayz, when there are better alternatives, and not Clozapine because it will compromise his heart and other organs.
As I said earlier; you are the Grande Puppeteer:
You still pull the strings of this sad case, remotely, out of the way of prying eyes. You hope you will again be hidden from view, but you are in full view. You can’t escape the glare of publicity and notoriety, because:
You Dr Katz must realize the family is entitled to oxygen too!
When the press got too hot, you slid Garth Daniels sideways into a locked facility at Dandenong Hospital, far away from prying eyes that are trained on you at Upton House, Box Hill. Have you noticed this keeps following you, because how ever it ends, this is ….your legacy.
It’s the kind of press that dogs a person for a lifetime. Yes, its Garth Daniels case that won’t go away. Why did you suddenly move him we ask?….. but you never said. Garth is now under the umbrella of Monash Health. I assume it is your hope the public spotlight will fall away from you then, but it hasn’t Dr Katz, and it won’t.
So, after this unending and devastating storm, the family now finds Garth twenty years later, residing in a locked psychiatric Unit, in a major hospital, anywhere and everywhere according to your whim Dr Katz, still tortured with electric shocks to the body, sometimes on alternate days…
It’s Joseph Mengles style, with unsolicited electric shocks any time. You say Garth has no capacity to refuse, but when a nurse manhandled him and he pushed her away you charged him with assault. ….Any reasonable human being would take that as a …..No!….. No electric shock treatment!
One of Adolph Hitler’s legal psychiatrist Joseph Mengles, acted lawfully too when he sewed the twins together without anesthetic drugs. I understand anesthetic treatment is compromised with Garth too along with the brain shocks. This has some irony in itself considering your family roots. Back then, Jewish children were also considered inferior beings like the mentally ill today, who are not deserving of respect and love, empathy and compassion, or the right to draw breath and justice.
Is this latest confinement also where you are heading with this Dr Katz? Is it your zenith, your one greatest achievement. We’ll see!
The hearing for assault against Garth is today at the Magistrates Court. You Dr Katz, have stripped the family of their life savings over time in defense of their son, so they can’t afford a defense lawyer. Dad Bernard Daniels, sixty nine years old and frail from the fight, has to represent his son yet again, on limited and confusing information provided to him by your cohorts. You want to revoke guardianship away from Bernard, so Garth can be spirited away from public scrutiny as you continue to constantly squeeze him, compromise his life, both general and mental health.
Now it’s about….ninety electric shocks and growing you’ve ordered for him, when the normal upper limit is usually ……twenty compromising still his memory, spirit and good health. You set this off Dr Katz and now you will have to wear it.
Both you and Joseph Mengles (World War 2) have traits in common. Both were operating within the law at the times of cruel treatments inflicted on the defenceless and lost. I see the obvious flaws in both of you. Neither of you would feel empathy with their fellow man.
Since Garth has been restrained by both wrist and ankle in a bed for sixty days until now…..wouldn’t a reasonable man or woman snap under that duress and want to push back from those conditions, knowing the electric shocks are frying his brain and he clearly says No! Its your right Garth and you are ignored. Knowing this, Dr Katz is pushing you hard, till you nearly break.
Even our genetic cousins, the apes, would go mad and try to defend themselves if they were in Garth’s shoes. A person who in the face of unremitting danger and who feels powerless for long enough, will react. Everyone has their breaking point. Who could reasonably stay quiet under those conditions…..so why not Garth? It shows he is one of us.
Your thinking that Garth’s not of sound mind, as you claim, and not competent you should have been aware there could be an unrestrained reaction from Garth and worked around it. But assault? Dr Katz you need to plan ahead.
What’s the difference between Garth’s case and the restraint of an ape in a six foot by three foot cage where it can’t move about and it’s drugged and poked with a stick, tranquilized; and assaulted by enforcement that causes pain? ….The answer is ….very little.
That cage would be about the size of Garth’s bed where he is strapped down unable to move for sixty days on end, with both hands and feet tied. If Garth were a primate in these conditions there would be international condemnation and charges laid against the handlers. In this case it’s the nurses who have to do the dirty work at your bidding Dr Katz.
Garth is in a worse situation than the ape mentioned above, and the caged honey bear kept in Russia. There is not much daylight between those two examples. Even the most mildly mannered primates or humans in time will try to defend themselves under constant unremitting threat.
So when an intelligent human being like Garth predictably reacts under deplorable and degrading conditions, he is charged with assault by your team? How about the right number of staff for the right job?. Garth has a basic right to the same as everyone else, but I don’t see evidence he can get that under your hawkish glare.
Garth Daniels should have the same basic human rights as anyone else, and that is the right to defend his self from assault or harm. But he doesn’t.
So, who is really the aggressor here? The legislation is clearly swayed in the wrong direction, against the patient.
It’s evidenced that nurses at Eastern Health are not adequately trained to deal with or predict the actions of overly sedated patients when they flail around. Sometimes a limb will collide with a human being, often the abuser. This time it was a nurse, it seems, but stories have a way of changing when the service is applying to overwhelm Garth’s father in the rush to seize guardianship of Garth. Constant dripping water wears away a stone, they say. There are no independent witnesses to protect Garth against defamation. Anything else could have occurred in the alleged assault.
The basic rule for any carer or nurse is to stand back and not manhandle the patient. Let the person have some space. What can a nurse do when asked to go over and bodily force the patient to submit to tyranny? ……If she wants to hold her job she must be complicit and toe the line.
For this alas, is a sorry story. To nearly approximately quote poor Yorick. (William Shakespear) ‘I see something stinks in the state of Denmark or say Victoria.’
Don’t you understand Dr Katz, ……..No means No! ….No more electric shocks for Garth. If it happened this time how many others have you hold up and scattered somewhere else? I shudder to think. ….When will the dark ages end?
The bright light of justice is shining brightly on Garth from all angles, and can”t be extinguished. The bed Garth is in; is still funded by your Eastern Health. It’s just in a different location, so your reign and responsibility Dr Katz as we know it is still on Garth and still Eastern Health, along with several other tentacles that penetrate the Monash domain and other areas. Oh, you are the agile one Dr Katz, aren’t you? Why don’t you tell Bernard the truth so he can have a fair hearing for his son at the magistrates court.
Marine biology experimentation in an earlier career Dr Katz was your forte. I think you should stick to what you do best, beside the sea.