Friday, 4 July 2014

DAIS Troubled Minds: psych drugs, shock treatment, brain surgery: half a million, 40% proof

The monster 1910 film
This is another blog post about the Dundee Advanced Interventions Service (DAIS) based in Ninewells Hospital, from the perspective of a layperson and psychiatric survivor.  Moreover someone whose family through 3 generations have been forcibly treated in psychiatric settings with drugs and ECT.  Fortunately none of us got the brain surgery, as far as I am aware.

I've never liked horror movies and much prefer happy endings, stories and whodunnits.  The Dr Victor Frankenstein (or the Modern Prometheus) films and story seemed like a fairy tale and nothing like real life, with monsters and doctors and currents passing through brains.  Scary stuff and not for children.  "Obsessive behaviors can be seen from the beginning of the book until Victor dies" Wikipedia 

Even just the other day, on bumping into a psychiatrist retired for 20 years, he spoke of ECT "saving lives".  Ironically we were chatting in the grounds of a church hall.  I retorted by saying that psychiatrists aren't God.  They don't hold the power over life and death.  Even if they think they do.

Why do psychiatrists and doctors persist in thinking they are godlike?  I said to this old psychiatrist that he was delusional.  He said I was very dogmatic.  My thought?  Pot kettle black.

Getting back to DAIS.  I made an FOI request recently to Scottish Government, asking for details about their funding and various other questions as to the anterior cingulotomies (brain surgery) undertaken.  I got a response yesterday.  Not sure if all my questions have been answered but I will check this out in due course.  I received a few documents that look like they have duplicate information but not all the information I asked for.  We'll see.

What I do now know is that DAIS is funded around half a million pounds a year, paid in 12 monthly instalments, for their work but this doesn't include buildings or infrastructure.  Website front page says re funding "'top sliced' from money given to NHS Boards by the Scottish Executive".  It also says under Clinical Governance that "The Chief Executive of NHS Tayside will be accountable for the quality of the clinical service provided.".  Lesley McLay  is now chief exec.
Lesley McLay NHS Tayside chief exec (former nurse)

The gist of the DAIS work involves patients with "severe and chronic treatment-refractory depression (TRD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)" although in their reports I have seen mention of patients with bipolar disorder.  Which bothers me.  Because there is a big push on to label every Tom, Dick and Harry with BD of one sort or another.

Before getting referred to DAIS a person has to have been unsuccessfully treated with psychiatric medication/drugs, at least 2 courses of ECT/shock treatment and be desperate (my take on it).  For I think you'd have to be pretty desperate to want your brain operated on and irreversible brain surgery occur.  The risks of the operation can't be minimal, involving general anaesthetic, over 90mins under with a metal frame on your head.  Scary stuff.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) are involved (as ever) and it says in the bumph that they "safeguard the individual’s capacity to consent as detailed in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003".  I'm skeptical because my experience is of the MWC being wise after the event and talk to the hand.  The Mental Health Act a chocolate teapot.

The "talk to the hand" blog post about MWC reblogged from 13 January 2013 has information in it about patients undergoing anterior cingulotomies staying in Ward One of Carseview Centre.  A ward where the independent advocacy, in my opinion, is very poor.  This I contend has serious implications for patients undergoing invasive brain surgery for "mental illness" and I think needs to be investigated. 

Another point about the DAIS work is a mention on their website in Dr David Christmas's thesis report that "Both Anterior Capsulotomy and Anterior Cingulotomy appear to be relatively safe procedures which can result in clinically significant improvement in symptoms in over 40% of patients with TRD or OCD." (bolding is mine).  So a 60% lack of improvement or failure rate.  I don't like the odds.

I will write more anon.

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