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Scottish Woman Suing Health Board

A woman from Dumbarton, Scotland, is suing the largest health board in that country according to this article in the Lennox Herald.

Claire Muir had heard that the child she was going to bear was deceased, and so she called to seek the services of a counselor. The telephone operator thought she sounded psychotic, and this resulted in the poor woman being sectioned under Great Britain’s Mental Health Act.

She’s angry, and I would say justifiably so.

Over the course of a 51 day hospital detention, Mrs. Muir says she was forcibly injected with psychiatric drugs over 12 times. She was physically assaulted and restrained while being forcibly drugged.

She said: “I would like the law to be changed because, at the moment, it gives all the power to psychiatrists and none to the patients. Psychiatrists are self-governed and need to be made accountable.”

I’m sure many people who have had unfortunate, humiliating, and unjust experiences with the mental health system would agree with Mrs. Muir.

Her lawyer, Hunter Watson, adds.

“She’s had a terrible experience and I hope she is successful in her case. I would also like the government to look at the law as it stands because nowhere is there acknowledgement that a psychiatrist can make a mistake.”

I’ve said pretty much the same thing on occasion. There is no Innocence Project for people committed to a state mental hospital.

The winning of a case like Mrs. Muir’s could prove very helpful for many of the people misdiagnosed mentally ill and falsely imprisoned in hospitals throughout the United Kingdom every year.

4 Responses

  1. I am Claire’s husband and would be happy to let US public know how our legal case is getting on against Glasgow NHS.
    Andrew Muir, Dumbarton, Scotland

  2. Thanks for the contact details. Have been in touch with Andrew because of your blog.

  3. Was this matter ever resolved? Did it get to trial?

    • Unfortunately, she lost her case. I found a story dated January 2011 on the matter. I would imagine this kind of conclusion to be expected. It is hard to win this type of case, and it would probably be precedent setting to do so. In the USA that could mean taking a case all the way to Supreme Court, and that in itself could prove financially prohibitive. This is by no means the end of this kind of thing. People who have survived psychiatric mistreatment have a long ways to go before anything approximating social justice can be achieved. It’s an up hill struggle, surely, but the status quo (i.e. injustice) remains unacceptable.


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