MindFreedom International – 28 January 2009
Ray Sandford Alert Update #12 – Please Forward
Postponed at the last minute!
“It was a miracle,” says Ray.
Today’s involuntary outpatient electroshock
for Ray Sandford for today, 28 January 2009,
was POSTPONED, with Ray in the waiting room.
During this delay: How you may easily and peacefully protest
Ray’s future forced electroshock from wherever you are.
Ray Sandford’s forced electroshock today was postponed today.
As has happened many times before, early this morning Ray was woken
up in his assisted living home and escorted to a psychiatrist’s
waiting room at Mercy Hospital north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As he often does, Ray complained about his physical health. In the
past his complaint has not made a difference. This time it did.
A medical staff person told Ray his involuntary electroshock was
canceled that morning, citing Ray’s physical health as the reason.
Ray returned home and called the MindFreedom office, saying, “It was
a miracle. They were ready to go. I was sitting in the hallway where
you wait. There’s a big picture of one of my former doctors on the
wall that I was looking at. I was twiddling my thumbs. And someone
came out and said, ‘Oh by the way you’re not going to get ECT today.’
As far as I am concerned that was a miracle. I was prepared for the
worst. I am delighted.”
It’s not over yet, of course. Ray is supposed to have a check-up next
week to see if his forced electroshocks may be rescheduled.
Background on today’s “miracle” [updating Alert #11]:
Ray Sandford was scheduled for another involuntary electroshock
today, Wednesday, 28 January 2009, just north of Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA, all funded by taxpayer dollars.
After more than three dozen forced electroshocks, Ray knows the drill.
Last night, staff prepared by removing all of Ray’s food from his
mini-fridge in his basement room in a small assisted living home
called “Victory House” in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. This is
because Ray is not supposed to eat for a number of hours before
anesthesia is administered.
Early this morning Ray was woken up extra early, and an escort
brought Ray the 15 miles north on streets near the Mississippi River
to Mercy Hospital, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
Ray’s mental health workers always manage to find an escort for Ray’s
forced electroshocks or psychiatrist visits.
On the other hand, a few days ago Ray said he had to miss a dental
appointment that was supposed to help with his severe teeth problems,
because no attendant could be found that day.
Since Ray’s campaign started, an attendant is required to accompany
Ray any time he leaves his home. MindFreedom volunteers have been
banned from visiting. One such visitor, a disability advocate, even
had her employment threatened after Ray’s “helpers” filed a complaint
with her employer for bringing Ray to a Minnesota center for
independent living for people with disabilities.
Ray says that once more, the waiting room of his electroshock doctor,
Bernard M. Coelho, MD, at Mercy Hospital was full with about 10
patients who Ray believes are also scheduled for electroshock. Giving
multiple electroshocks on the same morning is a common practice,
sometimes called a “Shock Mill,” and can be very lucrative. Mercy
Hospital is owned by Allina Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.
In the past, Ray has complained about various physical ailments that
he felt should cancel his electroshock. “They would just bring me
into Dr. Coelho’s office, and he would say I could have the
This time Ray brought up the fact that about two weeks ago he had
been brought to Regency Hospital by ambulance because of physical
complaints. Lab tests said his ammonia levels were too high, and he
brought this up today.
This time, Ray’s electroshock was called off.
If it had gone forward, Ray would have laid in a bed and felt an
injection as anesthesia and a muscle paralyzer administered to
suppress muscle writhing. Ray says Dr. Coelho would then runs
electricity through Ray’s brain, inducing a convulsion.
Ray calls the MindFreedom office almost every day, including just
before and just after his forced electroshocks. He says forced shock
is always scary, that it’s harming his memory and ability to
concentrate more and more.
Ray is asking us all to peacefully protest his ongoing forced
The nightmare of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes
of the subject has happened regularly since the very first
electroshock in Italy in 1937. But now the atrocity of forced
electroshock has climbed over the institutional walls, and is out in
our towns and cities, in our neighborhoods and homes.
Do not let this become “normal.”
Do not wait to see your neighbor escorted out into some early winter
morning for this.
Do not wait for that to be you.
MindFreedom reminds everyone that Ray’s campaign is nonviolent. Ray
values his religious principles, and MindFreedom has strict
If you communicate with any potential opponent, please be strong but
civil. Anything else can be used against Ray.
Here are a few easy ways you may protest Ray’s electroshock from
wherever you are:
*** ACTION *** ACTION *** ACTION ***
Please forward to all appropriate places on and off Internet.
1) Protest to Richard Pettingill, Chief executive officer (CEO) of
Allina Hospital and Clinics:
Ask that your civil verbal protest be placed in Ray Sandford’s
medical record using their online web form:
Sample message (your own words are best):
“Dear Mr. Richard Pettingill:
“I request that my message be placed in the permanent medical record
of your patient Ray Sandford, who states that he is receiving ongoing
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital administered by Allina
psychiatrist Bernard M Coelho, MD.
“While you cannot violate the privacy of a patient, I ask that you
respond in general about your policy of allowing involuntary
electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.
“Whether or not you feel this is legal, it is unethical, immoral and
traumatic to everyone in mental health care.
“The reason(s) I protest this forced electroshock are:
“My name and contact information: _______”
You may also try to phone Mr. Richard Pettingill’s office at
612-262-0601 or 612-262-5000.
UPDATE: Dr. Coelho direct phone number listed on the Allina web site
is 612-264-4379. However, for a while this phone number was
disconnected. If it does not work, you may try to leave him a message
at the above numbers, or Mercy at 763-236-6000.
2) Bishop Mark Hanson of the Lutheran Church
While the Lutheran Church is not directly in charge of Ray’s
electroshock, they are supposed to help “guard” Ray, they are
supposed to care deeply about social justice, yet they are not
supporting Ray’s campaign to end his forced electroshock.
The six Minnesota Synods of the “Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America” [ELCA] — which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the
USA — own Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN], which is
Ray’s court-appointed general guardian.
ELCA and LSSMN have refused to speak out for Ray.
MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson,
who leads ELCA. Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA’s Director of
Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Today, Ms. Reko told
MindFreedom, “Supervision is not a concept we enter into with
affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency
Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its
agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental
health, especially involuntary electroshock.
Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:
Sample message (your own words are best):
“Dear Bishop Hanson:
“Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am
not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone’s forced
electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of
social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated
social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.
“Your name and contact info: ___________”
You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling
(773) 380-2700, wait for an attendant.
3) Engage your local religious organizations in dialogue on human
rights and mental health
Ray has given us all an opportunity to encourage our local faith-
based communities to address the justice issues involved in mental
health care today.
Ask that your local church, synagogue, mosque, etc. find a way to
raise issues about human rights and mental health.
Those in the USA may also seek to engage in dialogue with
participants and leaders in your local ELCA church, which you may
easily locate here:
Please act today!
Because of today’s cancellation, MindFreedom does not know when Ray’s
next scheduled electroshock may be. It could be as early as 4
February or 11 February.
Minnesota Nonviolent Protests for Ray
Several individuals and groups in Minnesota have told MindFreedom
they would like to help support and attend peaceful protests on
behalf of Ray in Minnesota.
Several MindFreedom members have even said they are willing to travel
from out of state and from out of the country to participate in
MindFreedom will broadcast more information as it is received.
How to do and learn more on the Ray Campaign
For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, to hear the NPR radio
story on Ray, and read Frequently Asked Questions about the “No More
Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:
To further participate in the MindFreedom campaign to support Ray,
current MindFreedom members are invited to get on the very busy
MindFreedom “zapback” e-mail list about electroshock, here:
If you are not on the MindFreedom-News alert list and wish to be, sign up for this free non-profit public service here:
Filed under: MindFreedom, Ray Sandford