ECT in the news in Yorkshire

Several newspapers today have a story about a man in Wakefield, Yorkshire, who drove his friend’s car into a restaurant. The restaurant was closed at the time so no-one was hurt, although a lot of damage was done. The headline from The Telegraph says it all: “Jealous father drives car into Italian restaurant after discovering owner’s affair with ex-partner”. Or nearly all – the article itself reveals that, at the time, the man had been undergoing a course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):

“When interviewed by police, Brassington said he was undergoing electric shock therapy and could not remember the incident. Five months later he recalled snatches of what happened but was “suffering memory loss and he hadn’t been in control at the time…. He was a voluntary patient undergoing electroconvulsive therapy treatment at the time for depression.”

It is a reminder that not everyone who is prescribed ECT is severely depressed in the sense of lying catatonic in a hospital bed. A significant minority of those undergoing ECT do so as outpatients. ECT can sometimes tip people over into mania. And it can leave people without recall of things that they have done.

The judge in the case has deferred judgement for six months “saying he needed to know whether Brassington was responding to treatment”.

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