Last week I posted something about how Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, had been in the headlines for having given a woman bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) when she had been prescribed, and consented to, unilateral.
It is not the first time that Stobhill Hospital has hit the headlines for its attitude to consent for ECT. On 6 October 1975 page 2 of The Times had the following headline: Man forced to undergo shock treatment, the Ombudsman says
Sir Alan Marre, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman), in a five-page report has criticized one of Scotland’s leading general hospitals, Stobhill, in Glasgow, for having forced a Lanarkshire man, aged 61, to submit to electric shock treatment after compelling him to sign a consent form….
As a result, the signing of consent forms has been changed at Stobhill and the change may affect all hospitals in Scotland.
A statement issued yesterday by the Committee for Social Justice and Mental Health Reform, a Scottish civil liberties group, said that Mr Gordon was admitted to hospital for treatment for concussion, detained against his will, forced to sign a consent form and take drugs, and given electric shocks despite his protests.
He was admitted to Stobhill on the advice of his family doctor and told he would receive treatment for concussion arising from a previous head injury. According to the committee, he was given ‘knock-out’ drugs and when he awoke next day found he had been transferred to a psychiatric ward…
Mr Gordon, who had no history of mental illness, asked to be released, but was told he could not get out until he saw a psychiatrist in two days’ time. His clothes were locked away….
Sir Alan, in his report to the Secretary of State for Scotland and to the Greater Glasgow Health Board, says that the weight of evidence suggested to him that the hospital authorities went farther than was appropriate in getting Mr Gordon to sign the form against his real wishes.
The report adds: ‘Accordingly I asked the health board to review their procedures and their instructions to staff relating to consent for ECT (electric shock treatment)…’
The recent problem at Stobhill Hospital was not with the consent procedure itself (for which another hospital had been responsible), but was due to the fact that the patient was given bilateral ECT rather than the unilateral to which she had consented. According to a report by the Scottish ECT Accreditation Network: “Seven hospitals did not administer any unilateral treatments during 2008”. I wonder if Stobhill Hospital was one of these?