Vince Boehm 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 his remarks as published in the public record of the meeting.
Good afternoon, good morning. I’m a pinch hitter. I’m going to read into the record the statement of a person that was stranded at an airport yesterday and couldn’t make it. In addition to that, there are others, Dr. John Breeding, Carol Jean Reynolds, Dian’na Posthauer. I’m going to read the statement of Leonard Roy Frank.
Mr. Frank’s statement begins that, My name is Leonard Roy Frank. I am 78 years old, live in San Francisco, and have been active in the struggle against electroshock for almost 40 years. I’m here today to urge the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Panel to recommend that electroshock devices not be reclassified from the high risk to low risk category because these instruments of infamy can and often do tremendous harm.
In 1963, I was forced to endure 85 shock procedures, that’s 50 insulin comas and 35 electroshocks. As a result, my memory for the preceding three years was obliterated. In addition, my high school and college educations were effectively destroyed. Every part of me, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical, was less than what it would have been. I believe I never recovered fully from these repeated brain assaults. They rendered my life since then considerably less abundant.
A brain is a terrible thing to waste, to damage, and brain damage is electroshock’s bottom line. The surest indicator of brain damage is memory loss, which is practically universal among the survivors, but psychiatrists deny that electroshock causes brain damage.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force report “Practice of Electroconvulsive Therapy,” 2001, the most authoritative text on the subject, stated that, “In light of the accumulated body of data dealing with structural defects of ECT, brain damage should not be included in the ECT consent form as a potential risk of treatment.”
This is one of modern psychiatry’s biggest lies. The scientific evidence contradicts this claim. The best example that I am aware of is a 1957 report by psychiatrist David Impastato, a leading electroshock proponent. In the largest and most detailed review of electroshock-related tests ever published, Impastato studies 254 deaths, all but 40 from previously published reports, and found that 66 patients died of cerebral causes. In other words, they died of electroshock-caused brain damage.
Electroshock psychiatrists have had more than 70 years to prove that their procedure is safe and effective, and they haven’t been able to. During that time, with no more scientific justification, more than 7 million people in the United States have been electroshocked. Even today, more than 100,000 people a year in this country are being electroshocked.
Now is the time to call the psychiatric profession to account for its cruelty and criminality, and the Food and Drug Administration is the place to begin. I say criminality because electroshock is rarely, if ever, administered with a genuine informed consent. The absence of brain damage risk from the consent form alone makes the current electroshock procedure entirely fraudulent.
If the law considers touching another person without their consent an assault, then the law should regard administering electroshock with an electroshock device to another person’s brain without —
MS. WOOD: Thirty seconds.
MR. BOEHM: — as a far more serious form of assault. As a destroyer of beliefs, memories, and ideas, electroshock violates these hallmarks of American liberty, freedom of conscience and freedom of belief, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. There’s no place for electroshock in a free society, and no society where it is sanctioned or tolerated is justified to call itself free.
If the body is —
MS. WOOD: Sir, your time has ended. Thank you very much.