4. Efforts at Attaining Compensation and Reinstatement of my Reputation
My complaints, first to the regional and later the central Medical Ethics Board, regarding P.'s failure to rule out hyperlipidemia as the source of my symptoms, and regarding the forced treatment, were rejected. Neither I nor anyone who represented me ever was given the opportunity to testify before the Medical Ethics Boards. I was never shown any documents that in any way indicated how the forced treatment might have benefited me. This also did not happen when in 1986 I visited the institution where the treatment had taken place and requested such documents from the medical director. Nor did any of the attorneys I had hired ever see any such documents. It is not known to me whether the court ever received any such documents from P. He did once mention to me that he had had to justify the treatment. How he succeeded in doing so I still don't know.
Not being allowed to testify on my own behalf is a violation of the basics of a fair trial. So is not releasing the documents to me. My next to last lawyer wrote me in 1992: “One wonders whether the procedure (at the Medical Ethics Boards) as you experienced it, is admissible from the human rights aspect.” P.'s written defense at the Central Medical Ethics Board I have already mostly revealed in 2. As said earlier, it did not clarify the benefit of the forced treatment.
In total I hired five attorneys. I fired the next to last attorney in 1992 because of not carrying through with an injunction against the State and the chairman of the Central Medical Ethics Board that year, regarding their refusal to surrender the documents to us. (I still have the complete text of the entire injunction request.) Finally in 1995 I was assigned a medical attorney. To my surprise, this one announced wishing to talk to my previous attorney by telephone in an effort to elicit statements which would establish her liability. He later informed me in a letter that, as I had expected, this effort was fruitless. At the same time he said he found my current family doctor's statement rather brief. It had about the same amount of words as the “medical” report which formed the basis of the court order regarding my involuntary hospitalization. (The contents of that report was in my opinion lacking, my doctor's statement wasn't.) Precisely thanks to my doctor's statement, I had a chance of winning, according to my lawyer! In the same letter, the attorney referred to the ruling by the Central Medical Ethics Board which had found P. not negligent. If the lawyer had really cared about my rights, he would surely have contacted my family doctor and asked for the further information he regarded necessary. I suspect he decided in advance that it wasn't necessary, and therefore his claim that my doctor's statement was too brief was moot. In any case at the time there was already a second opinion by a psychiatrist that I do not have schizophrenia. (See also 3.) If my family doctor's statement is right, then the Medical Ethics Board must be wrong, as the claim that an organic cause had been justifiably ruled out would be incorrect. Although the truth of this was for me of course of paramount importance, the lawyer apparently didn't want to be bothered investigating it!
I know that legal advisors sometimes (must) play the devil's advocate, but I had never heard of an attorney who simply ignores the evidence that so supports his client's claim. I didn't know such a thing can or is allowed to happen. Not long after my experiences with this medical attorney, I discovered that some of his clients were psychiatrists.
None of the lawyers I had were of any use to me, though it was not always their fault.
In 1995 I sent another letter, with my doctor's statement attached, to the Central Medical Ethics Board. The answer revealed that it could not comply with my request to reopen the case. In 1996 I wrote a letter to the Minister of Health in regard to my negative experiences with human rights in our country. (One of the things she wrote in her response was that I suspected that the hyperlipidemia was responsible for my symptoms, so she didn't deny that view. See 7.) In 1997 I addressed another letter to a member of Parliament, a prominent member of the Labor Party, a party for social justice. The responses I received from these politicians are listed under 7.
As all my efforts up to that point had been futile, In 1998 I sent my file to the Labor Party leader of my municipality, as I had understood that she was interested in my case. Later I learned that she was ill and had taken leave of politics.
In 2002 the Labor Party informed me that my file, which contained very sensitive information, was lost! So I was even farther away from my goal. It took me a lot of trouble to find out what happened to it. I could expect nothing from the Labor Party.
Psychiatric hospitalization often labels people for life. This label serves as a justification for other people to not have to take them seriously.
A member of the Socialist party once said on TV that in Africa there's a saying - if I understood it correctly - “Give the dog a name and finish him off.” That means, so I understood from him, that first you declare somebody unimportant, and then you don't have to take him into account.
He seemed to have experienced that himself when the Socialist Party had only two representatives in the Second Chamber, and the other members did the same to him. Through his website, I informed the Socialist Party of my experiences in psychiatry and the denial of my rights. I was advised to sue in court. But for that you first need a dependable attorney. And as described, there aren't any.
I presented my experiences and questions to another leftist party through their public service desk. My papers were forwarded to the department for “Difficult Questions.” Also from them I never heard again. Perhaps they arrived at the department for “Too Difficult Questions.”
I have come to the conclusion that people who have been in psychiatry, whether justly or unjustly, in many aspects do not count in our society. They are treated as unequal before the law.
The literal meaning of psychiatrist is physician of the soul. It seems to me that someone who feels the calling to heal other people's souls should first ensure that his own soul is healthy. Considering the ocean of misery that several representatives of the medical establishment poured out over me, and due to the fact that practically nobody feels called upon to do something about it, I have little sympathy for this profession.
A famous Dutch professor wrote an article in a daily newspaper in 1996, entitled, “Medical Ethics Board, a failing grade”. Among other things he wrote that the Board has insufficient means to punish blundering physicians. Also, increasingly more complex matters are referred to the board, and to which it has no satisfactory answer. It seems to me that the Professor hit the nail on the head at that time. And if since then there has been any improvement, it has not applied to me.