Widower Loretta Wilson presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Neurological Devices Panel examining the reclassification of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) devices on January 27, 2011. These are her remarks as published in the public record of the meeting.
Good morning. My name is Loretta Wilson from Flushing, Michigan. I am 69, widowed, mother of 5, grandmother of 7, and great-grandma to my new baby girl, Sophie.
To begin, when you hear the world rainbow, what do you see? Well, in photography, when an image is placed on the CF card, it then becomes available to use that any time by the photographer. It is very important to preserve the image in its original state. The photographer can work from the original and be very creative and the variations are unlimited. Backgrounds can be changed, imperfections can be removed, and the photographer has the option of erasing undesirable images from the CF card. Formatting the CF card destroys all pertinent information. Many stores advertise that erased images can be recovered, but recovery is not guaranteed.
On the flip side of the coin, since psychiatrists are unable to detect individual memory cells, they simply aim the electroshock device and shoot. In a split second, irreversible damage is done. Since no technology exists for transferring memory cells onto a backup system prior to the electroshock, the originals are destroyed and can never be retrieved.
Destroyed memories have altered my life for the remainder of my life. Furthermore, memory loss is documented numerous times in my medical record as memory deficits, noted apparent, substantial. Pain is also documented multiple times after receiving electroshock. When electroshock is administered, it produces a grand mal seizure. In the aftermath, the individual appears zombie-like, as witnessed time after time by my family members and friends.
In addition, if grand mal seizures are such good therapy, producing no ill effect, why not leave epileptics alone and allow them to be therapeuticized to the max?
Consider this, 48 of the 50 United States of America have made it a felony to intentionally harm an animal. Should the human brain be treated with less dignity?
For me, huge amounts of memory were castrated, and I have no recourse in a court of law because the two-year statute of the limitations has long passed. I ask, how many does it take to change a light bulb? How many times must we speak about the irreversible effects of electroshock?
This highly controversial procedure is and will continue to be dangerous. Experience speaks volumes. Most people are unaware that memories are priceless until they are unable to access them. Personally, I believe all the use of electroshock devices should be banned.
Will this trauma be allowed to continue? Will the FDA yield to the manufacturers in spite of the lack of conclusive evidence on their part, or will the FDA stand by its first decision? The device is dangerous. Decades have passed, and the electroshock device continues to cause grave harm.
As a nation, we have come so far. Shall we stoop so low as to allow the electroshock device be reclassified to less than dangerous? If the device is reclassified to anything less than dangerous, God help us all. No one is exempt from an emotional upheaval, and you or someone you know may be the next one on the table.
In conclusion, unlike a beautiful rainbow, my life is faded with lots of black holes which represent the memories that were destroyed through the administration of electroshock. You have an awesome responsibility. A wrong decision now will affect countless thousands of people around the world. Yes, around the world because concern about reclassification of the electroshock device is international.
With that, I implore you, do not reclassify the electroshock device. It is imperative. You must say no. Proof of damage by electroshock has surpassed just being substantiated. Claims of safety and effectiveness are but mere speculation. Thank you.
Loretta Wilson. (2011). Widower Loretta Wilson on ECT. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/widower-loretta-wilson-on-ect/0007260
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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