These stories are hard to imagine but they actually occur.
A little girl named Lee, age 8, began to show some difficult behavior at home and her mother spent a lot of time researching child disorders and methods to handle them. Finally, her parents sought professional help believing in good faith that the physicians involved knew their field and were experts in diagnosis of mental disorders and knew exactly what drugs would successfully relieve their daughter’s symptoms.
Lee was diagnosed with “bipolar disorder” and given Seroquel and Risperdal – heavy duty drugs originally created for adult psychotics. Some months later, when Lee showed an obsessive fear of germs, the doctor added Paxil to the mix.
Her mother soon observed increased aggression in the little girl. The psychiatrist assured the mom this was an acceptable side-effect and not to worry.
Though still trusting the doctors, her parents began to be concerned.
Lee’s father said “We felt like she was a guinea pig” because the doctor tried one drug after another. Her dad then added, “But it seems like that’s the only way of finding out what works.”
How true that is!
Psychiatrists are just experimenting on young children by trying this and that in various dosages and combinations hoping some mix will calm down the behavior deemed unacceptable at school.
While her Paxil dose was being fiddled with, Lee’s hostility and aggression grew. She stomped around, kicking at walls, saying repeatedly she wanted to kill herself.
One day she grabbed a knife and threatened her younger sister. Her parents took her to Community Hospital of New Port Richey, and she was sent along to the crisis center at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
The hospital said her Paxil dose was too low! (a Paxil deficiency!?)
On the way home she threw a fit. They took her back to Morton Plant for more “treatment”. She was fine at home for a few hours and then told her parents she wanted to electrocute herself that night.
So, her parents tried a crisis center in New Port Richey, The Harbor Behavioral Health Care Institute. They were told there was a bed available and waited for a social worker to write a Baker Act order.
During the wait attendants separated Lee from her parents and the little girl sat by herself in her pajamas in a room with an unkempt older man and a teenager in handcuffs.
With the Baker Act form signed, the parents discovered this unit was full and the staff offered to send Lee back to Morton Plant. Her parents were leery of sending her back there and Lee ended up at a crisis center in Tampa, run by Mental Health Care Inc.
She was sent home on a new drug – Zoloft.
On her fourth day back, she tried to run away from home. Her family took her back to the hospital and Lee jumped out of the van and ran. “Emergency workers cornered her behind the office and tied her to a gurney. She screamed and thrashed the whole way to the Community Hospital emergency room and screamed throughout the afternoon as nurses tried to sedate her. They finally succeeded by giving her a shot of Thorazine.”
This all happened to an eight year old little girl.
Lee was aware that the correct action when facing psychiatric treatment was to run for her life!
Her parents refused a transfer to Morton Plant and Lee got a bed at a crisis center run by Coastal Behavioral Health Care in Sarasota. There a doctor actually took a special interest in Lee. He kept her for 10 days in the facility and made sure she stopped taking the psychiatric drugs.
Not taking the drugs was the only treatment Lee had ever responded to and she was able to go home. Her father stated, “She’s in a much better place, mentally. She has some peace and stability, which was all we wanted in the first place.”
Massachusetts psychiatrist Michael Jellinek, responding to a University of Maryland study citing the sharp rise in psychiatric drug prescriptions to children, said that the findings pointed to a weakness in public and private insurance health plans: they would rather pay for drugs than for costly and time-consuming counseling.
Isn’t talking to a child superior to destroying his or her physical and emotional well-being with mind bending drugs? Unfortunately, psychiatrists routinely prescribe these drugs to thousands of children in office visits and during Baker Act stays in crisis centers.
As we have seen, the drugs themselves can cause new problems leading to additional Baker Act commitments.
It’s time to change the law and stop Baker Acting kids in Florida.