Family fight to stop shock therapy being forced on man, 40

A FAMILY are desperately seeking to stop the forced administration of electric shock therapy on a 40-year-old man who is being involuntarily detained at Lakeview mental health unit in Naas, Co Kildare.

Morgan Pritchard’s family have said he is set to be given the controversial electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against his will and are seeking to have it stopped.

ECT electrically induces seizures in anaesthetised patients.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Morgan’s sister Sarah Duffin said her brother has told his consultant psychiatrist at Lakeview that he does not want ECT: “He has also told his solicitor, his father, his mother, and his peer advocate at the hospital — and furthermore has signed a letter saying he does not want it.

“We as a family are united and completely against this procedure. Words cannot describe the terrible effect on not only the patient but on their family, and the terrible damage which can be done,” she said.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Pat Bracken, who campaigns against forced ECT, said he had advised Ms Duffin to send a message to the head of mental services of the HSE, Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch, and the Mental Health Commission, to highlight the situation.

He said it was a “classic case” of the unfairness of the section of the Mental Health Act (MHA) which governs ECT.

Section 59b of the act says if someone is “unwilling or unable” to consent they can be given the treatment on the opinion of two consultant psychiatrists.

Dr Bracken is part of a campaign to delete this section of the act, therefore stopping forced ECT.

“It puts all the power and responsibility into the hands of the doctors,” he said.

Former head of the Mental Health Commission, Hugh Kane, who is also part of the Delete 59b campaign, said it was unbelievable that the wishes of a patient and a family were not adhered to.

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