The Case of Alison Hymes: U.S. Constitution versus Psychiatry
Posted Mar 13 2011 5:34pm
Alison Hymes is in the fight of her life.
Her liberty is threatened, due to a psychiatric label that was placed on her along the way. Like so many others, Alison was gravely injured by and the mental health system at-large.
Alison made the decision to do something positive with her life experience. She has been an for civil rights reform in the mental health system for many years, following the fallout she survived first-hand.
She recently was reported to have voiced complaints about steroids for a psychotropic-induced kidney disorder and is now being held against her will, threatened with being locked up in a state hospital for six months. (see full story below)
Alison will be given a mental health court hearing on Monday, March 14th, but according the , it looks as though the decision to incarcerate Alison has already been made. Ms. Hymes has not been charged with any crime. Her greatest “crime” is her psychiatric diagnosis.
Ms Hymes deserves better. In fact, she is guaranteed better. Alison is guaranteed due process by the 14th Amendment of the , and is protected against cruel and unusual punishment by the 8th Amendment. She is due a fair trial, with an attorney who is well-versed with her case.
Furthermore, should it be found that she is currently in poor functioning, and in need of support, she is protected by the , specifically, the “least restrictive” clause. In other words, Alison is allowed, by law to find ways to address her own and mental in a way that does not threaten her freedom.
Unfortunately, Alison’s case is not unique. It has become protocol for psychiatry – a profession that unfortunately lost its way, long-ago. Psychiatry has become nothing short of a domestic threat to those who find themselves temporarily vulnerable, and to the very law written to protect them – the .
A MindFreedom member let us know through a volunteer that she is atrisk of forced psychiatric institutionalization. Below is based on herreport to a volunteer.
Stop The Forced Treatment of Alison Hymes
A long time MindFreedom member, a resident of Charlottesville Virginiaand a tireless advocate for human rights in mental health, AlisonHymes, for the last two weeks has been confined to the closed andlocked psychiatric unit at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Rucker 3, inCharlottesville, Virginia.
She has been given a psychiatric evaluation and this Monday, March 14,2011, a civil commitment hearing has been scheduled for her.
An area lawyer may be at the hearing on Monday, but it is feared thatthe decision has already been made, and that she will be sent toWestern State Hospital in Staunton over any objections he may have.This would be a matter of the sheriff driving her, in handcuffs, overthe mountain to a hospital 40 miles away in the Shenandoah Valley.
Please help us save Alison from being sent to Western State Hospital,a fate she fears worse than death.
A simple action you can take is to contact the Virginia statecommissioner of mental health demanding that she be released from herconfinement and firmly requesting that she not be sent to WesternState Hospital. His contact information is below:
“Stop the forced treatment of Alison Hymes, allow her to return to herhome, and keep her from being sent to Western State Hospital. She hasbeen harmed by the treatment she has received in the past, and we’dlike to make sure that she is spared any further harm.”
Much of Alison’s present problems started after she complained aboutthe effects of the steroids she was taking for her kidney.
For her complaints, hospital staff sent her to a psychiatric unit. Shewas taking this medicine because she had had a kidney transplant dueto psychiatric malpractice, lithium poisoning, she had endured in the past.
One of the concerns her friends have is that Alison will notreceive the kind of attention inside Western State Hospital that shemay need, and as a result she could again lose her kidney. Such anenvironment as exists at Western State Hospital would be needlesslyplacing her life and her health in further jeopardy and peril.
She has been on a prescription of the benzodiazepine klonopin for anumber of years. She had been doing moderately well, when due tocomplaints of anxiety and sleeplessness, a doctor this summer put her on a low dose of Seroquel.
Soon afterwards she found herself unable todrive, cook, bathe properly, or even take care of herself. Herdoctor’s response to her anxiety over her condition was to raise herdose of Seroquel. He has been raising her dose of Seroquel ever since.He recently ended her supply of klonopin cold turkey.
She is presently unable to concentrate. She also reports havingdifficulty standing up and staying on her feet. She has always had badphysical reactions to neuroleptic drugs, and she wishes to be weanedoff them.
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