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"I Am Innocent!"

category national | health / disability issues | opinion/analysis author Thursday July 28, 2005 13:36author by Sean Crudden - imperoauthor email sean at impero dot iol dot ieauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louth.author phone 087 9739945 Report this post to the editors

Whither Psychiatry in 2005 and Beyond?

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves." Then the people as a whole answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!" So he released Barabbas for them: and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Matthew 27.24 - 27.26
Sean Crudden
Sean Crudden

In an article in this morning’s Irish Times "Scandal of our mental health services," Mary Raftery uses the phrase "….the area of psychiatric care, for which, of course, the Minister has ultimate responsibility." Let me point out immediately that I do not want to cast Mary Harney in the role of Pontius Pilate.

No. The point I want to make is that everyone involved including myself (although I keep my mouth strategically shut a lot of the time) bears some responsibility for the way things are. When I was young in school the lesson of the Nuremberg trials was often drilled home. Like Goehring and Goebbels we cannot shuffle off responsibility onto the Hitler at the top of the chain of responsibility.

Even if we cannot open our mouths we can keep our eyes open. A blind man could see a lesson in the human wreckage we are all surrounded by in 2004 and 2005. That wreckage is the product of a half-century of modern psychiatric treatment.

It seems to me that the key interaction in the psychiatric system is between patients and nurses. The quality of that relationship is what determines the quality of life for the patient on a day-to-day basis. That quality can vary and it is, by no means, always bad. However nurses are not insulated from patients as psychiatrists invariably are. So their observations on systematic deficiencies are more likely to be grounded in reality.

I hope that modern advances - like the nurse training school in Dundalk Institute of Technology - will produce nurses who feel an authentic sense of their own responsibility and who are observant and encouraged to think independently and, also, who recognise the humanity of their patients and are apt to look at things from the patient’s point of view.

My biblical research this morning carried me into St Luke’s (the physician) Gospel. He pointed out that in the hour that Herod and Pilate conspired to sentence Jesus to be crucified they both became friends where they had been enemies before.

To my paranoid mind it seems to me that there are a number of alliances which are shoring up the failed system of modern psychiatry. The least of these alliances is not that between the medical and political establishments.

Related Link: http://www.iol.ie/~impero/

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   This is an urgent issue     Miriam Cotton    Thu Jul 28, 2005 14:43 
   Remind everyone that Amnesty International's last report highlighted Irish psychiatric practise     iosaf    Thu Jul 28, 2005 21:34 
   I thought about your comment last night!     Sean    Sun Jul 31, 2005 08:40 
   Amnesty Interational     Miriam Cotton    Sun Jul 31, 2005 18:49 
   More     Sean    Mon Aug 01, 2005 20:33 
   Resourcing     Miriam    Mon Aug 01, 2005 20:56 
   A Failed System - Another Witness?     Sean    Tue Aug 02, 2005 18:28 
   Expert Group on Mental Health Policy     Sean    Tue Aug 02, 2005 19:26 
   Amnesty International and psychiatry     depixol junky    Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:06 
 10   Drink Deep     Sean    Thu Aug 11, 2005 21:20 
 11   Publications     Sean    Fri Aug 12, 2005 17:55 
 12   Kick to Touch     Sean    Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:02 
 13   A Vision for Change     Sean Crudden    Fri Mar 03, 2006 17:42 


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