The incident rate for admissions to foster care among young children (0-4) is twice what it is for children 5-17 years of age. Infants are nearly 25% of all entrants into foster care.
Compulsory Drug Therapy
The following is a copy of a letter, which was e-mailed on October 9th, to the
Minister for Health
in Victoria, Australia. I ask you to publicize it and protest this cruel and
dangerous torture of my daughter. Please act now!
Thanking you in advance,
The Hon. Brownwyn Pike, MP
Minister for Health, Victoria
I address this letter to you, as the Minister in charge of the
Department of Human Services, and I do that
on behalf of Miss Rebecca Merhav, my daughter. This letter to you is the only avenue
left to save my daughter's life, and stop her cruel torture by compulsory
treatment, as ordered by her treating psychiatrist,
Dr. Brett Coulson, of the Junction Clinic, Melbourne.
That "treatment" is no medical treatment, because instead of relief and
improvement it causes my daughter unbearable suffering, and exposes her to deadly risks
and irreversible damage to her brain and to other parts of her body.
I say that this letter is the only avenue left to save my daughter's life, because all
other avenues are closed to her. The Mental Health Review Board, to which my daughter
appealed several times, is in reality acting as a rubber stamp for the treating psychiatrist.
I appealed to it, on behalf of my daughter, but it pays attention to and trusts whatever
the treating psychiatrist says, no matter how great are the suffering of the patient.
Any appeal to VCAT is likely to meet with the same attitude.
I tried to appeal to the Chief Psychiatrist, and asked him to use his authority according
to the Mental Health Act, and to revoke the Compulsory Treatment
Order (CTO) over my daughter, but he refused. Instead, in his letter to me, dated October 2, 2006,
he concluded with the following advice:
"I continue to believe that the best way to address your concerns is for you to
try and collaborate with Rebecca's treating clinicians to achieve some form of working
relationship in her best interests."
Following that advice I made contact with the treating psychiatrist as well as the manager
of the Support Team. Last Friday, October 6th, concluding our phone conversation, Dr.
Coulson, the treating psychiatrist, advised me to e-mail him with my arguments in support
of my daughter, which I did (see the copy of my synopsis below) and e-mailed to him last
night. Today, October 9th, he ordered Rebecca to the Clinic, only to tell her that he
orders a further increase of the Clozapine dose: from 350mg per day to 375mg per day.
This is very close to a death sentence for my daughter Rebecca, because she could not
cope with the Clozapine
even when the dose was 200mg per day. She openly told me then that she would rather die
than that continue to suffer under the Clozapine.
Such an attitude by Dr. Coulson shows that he not only is he holding my daughter in
contempt - with complete disregard to the disastrous consquences of his decison/action - but
he also disregards the Chief Psychiatrist's instruction of collaboration with the patient
and with her father.
I therefore implore you to urgently intervene in the matter, so as to save my daughter's
life before it is too late!
Sincerely, Benjamin Merhav
My letter/synopsis for Dr. Coulson:
Dear Dr. B. Coulson,
Following our phone conversation today, October 6th, I have prepared the following
synopsis in support of Miss Rebecca Merhav's demands/needs. She urgently needs to be
taken off the CTO, have her Clozapine intake reduced gradually, to the minimum, under
your supervision, so as to eventually eliminate it completely, and be allowed to take
up alternative drug-free therapy, detoxify her body and return to normal life.
The first wrong diagnosis and unnecessary treatment
Christmas 1977 was the worst day in my daughter's life. It was shortly after she turned
15 that she was caught up in a domestic tangle, not of her making, to be referred wrongly
to a psychiatric ward for "observation", following her mother's complaints. Those
complaints were based on Rebecca's refusal to do the house chores as required by the mother.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with Rebecca, but the mere referral by the diagnosing
psychiatrist was taken, apparently, to be a positive diagnosis of mental illness.
Upon her arrival she was immediately required to consume a psychiatric drug, and when
she refused, it was injected into her by force. Her refusal, by itself, was considered
as a "worsening of her mental illness," therefore more injections followed
with higher dosage of neuroleptics. She then absconded, but only to get herself into
worse trouble, because the abrupt termination of the neuroleptics played havoc on her
brain (see Dr. Breggin below who says, on page 16, "All psychiatric drugs can cause
problems during withdrawal"), and when returned to the ward her treating doctor
considered her crisis as a "deterioration of her psychotic illness."
An Australian government website, of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, on April 21st
this year, published a report titled,
Psychiatry Manual Linked to Drug Money,
which proves that the diagnosis manual for psychiatrists was financed by the drug corporations.
Could it be that the first wrong diagnosis of my daughter was due to the guidlines by such
Furthermore, the financial interests of drug corporations require that compulsory drug
treatment be entrenched and widespread so as to maximise their profits. It is well known
that the level of drug corporations' profits is so high at present, that it is second only
to the armament industry level of profits.
In any case, 29 years of compulsory "treatment" have not produced any beneficial
results for my daughter, and therefore proved to be completely unnecessary. Moreover, most
of the neuroleptic drugs she was forced to take have since been declared harmful by the
psychiatric profession itself, and are not in use any longer, leaving my daughter with
the pain, the trauma, and possibly damaged vital organs (like her liver and her kidneys,
but hopefully not her brain) as a result of so much intake of potent and harmful chemicals.
The experience and research done by the USA veteran psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin, proves that most neuroleptics
given to psychiatric patients are harmful rather than helpful (to some people more than to
others, of course). However, the drug corporations have produced misleading advertising to
sell their harmful drugs.
In his book,
Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Drugs,
(Perseus Books - Reading, Massachusetts - 1999), Dr. Breggin says:
"Precisely because there is so little scientific backing for the use of psychiatric
drugs, mystification and slogans are often communicated to doctors by drug advertising, and
then to patients by doctors" (p. 112-123).
On page 37, he says that "Despite a hugely successful promotional campaign by drug
companies and biological psychiatry, the effectiveness of most or all psychiatric drugs remains
difficult to demonstrate. The drugs often prove no more effective than sugar pills, or placebos
- and to accomplish even these limited positive results, the clinical trials and data that
they generate typically have to be statistically manipulated."
The question then begs itself: why force a patient to consume a drug which does no good,
when the patient is not dangerous - not to herself and not to others? - and therefore with
no public interest in the matter, even if the patient is mentally ill, let alone in a case
of wrong diagnosis like the case of my daughter?
On page 77, Dr. Breggin says that even when a patient is diagnosed as psychotic then
neuroleptic drugs do not eliminate the psychotic symptoms:
"Contrary to claims, neuroleptics have no specific effects on irrational ideas
(delusions) or perceptions (hallucinations). Like all other psychiatric drugs, they
have the same impact on healthy animals, healthy volunteers, and patients - namely,
the production of apathy and indifference."
Moreover, the neuroleptics do have harmful effects. Here are some of harmful effects
mentioned by Dr. Breggin in his above book:
"Neuroleptic drugs cause brain damage evidenced by a movement disorder called
tardive dyskinesia, but Neuroleptics actually suppress the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia
while the disease is developing. ...The rates of TD [tardive dyskinesia] are extremely
high. Many standard textbooks estimate a rate of 5% - 7% per year in healthy young adults
[who are taking neuroleptic drugs]. The rate is cumulative so that 25% - 35% of patients
[taking neuroleptics] will develop the disorder in 5 years of treatment. Among the elderly
[taking neuroleptics], rates of TD reach 20% or more per year. For a variety of reasons,
including the failure to include tardive akathisia in estimates, the actual rates are
probably much higher for all patients". (p. 78)
On page 79: "So-called antipsychotic or neuroleptic drugs cause a fatal disease
called neuroleptic malignant syndrome in up to 2.4% of people taking them. Using a low-end
rate of 1 percent, Maxmen and Ward (1995, p. 33) estimate that 1,000 - 4,000 deaths occur
in America each year as a result of neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The actual number is
probably much greater."
On page 81: "Neuroleptic, also known as antipsychotic or major tranquilizer drugs
subject almost every system in the body to impairment. Research, including a recent study,
indicates that these drugs are toxic to cells in general."
The most dangerous of all the neuroleptics is, of course, the Clozapine (Clozaril), the
drug which Rebecca has been forced to take for more than a year now. Here is what Dr.
Breggin says at page 82:
"Clozaril ... was banned in some European countries because it caused so many
fatalities; but the escalating power of drug companies subsequently led to its approval
by the FDA" in the United States.
There are, of course, many more deadly risks that any consumer of
Clozapine takes, such as diabetes, heart attacks,
epilepsy, severe constipation, etc. but in the case of Rebecca her immeidate and daily
sufferings (chronic insomnia, back pain, pain in bones and joints, etc.) make her daily
life unbearable, and this is tantamount to torture! It certainly cannot be considered a
So this is her situation now, under the Clozapine, but she has been suffering for 29
years now! Twenty nine years of trauma, torture, humiliation, degradation and loss of
the 29 best years of her life! Now it is already too late for her, for example, to have
children and create her own family. Under such circumstances no one can function better
than a human wreck. Why punish her for the rest of her life too? Why force on her the
risks of death?
The only way to help Rebecca
Knowing my daughter I am hopeful that she is still a very capable and talented person. It
is the compulsory drug treatment, the traumatic incarcerations, and her betrayal by her own
mother that turned her disabled, a psychiatrically disabled person. Yet, despite her sufferings,
despite the limitations imposed on her by the Clozapine, she never lost her hope and her will
to return to normal life. She has been looking for a job, any work which would be available
to her. She has been interested in various courses to study and improve her qualifications,
and she has made many enquiries regarding her possible participation in such courses. She
wants to live a normal life! Why deny her any chance to live a normal life?
Obviously, the only way to help her - indeed the only way to save her life! - is to gradually
reduce her intake of Clozapine, revoke the CTO, and eventually allow her to take up drug-free
alternative treatment (which was offered to her in Adelaide), to detoxfy her body, to return
to society as an active member, to make friends and to live a normal life, the life she wants
She badly needs physical activities (which she likes very much, like swimming, tennis, netball);
she badly needs friends to break through her isolation, but the Clozapine makes these important
needs impossible for her to achieve. She has all the needs of any normal adult and there is no
rational reason to deny fulfilment of her needs to her! Why torture her instead for the rest of
The answer to the argument that she needs drug treatment because "she is sick" - and
without debating the validity of this argument! - is that OK, having been been taken off the
drugs and then - in the worst case - facing a crisis again, it would never be too late to return
to the psychiatric ward anywhere, and to resume the drug treatment, if there is no realistic
To close my appeal I would add this very important piece of informatiom:
Around 1995, when Rebecca was getting treatment at Southen Clinic, in Moorabbin, her
neuroleptic intake was on the minimum level. That followed her past demands, at the
previous clinic at Albert Park, demands which I strongly supported, to start reducing
her dose of neuroleptics intake. At first the treating doctors refused to even consider
our demands, but then they decided to give it a try, and lo and behold the experiment
did work. With each reduction Rebecca felt better and her performance improved too.
So when she was moved to the Southern Clinic (because of changing her residence) she was
on the lowest level of the neuroleptic. We then asked the treating woman psychiatrist in
the Southern clinic to take her off the drug altogether, and she arranged for a meeting
with us so that she could consider our request. It was about an hour long meeting at the
end of which the treating psychiatrist turned to me and said: "I do not see any
reason why she should be on any (psychiatric) drug."
Upon hearing the good news Rebecca became very happy, and I could hardly catch up with her,
as she was dancing (rather than walking) all the way back to her home. However, her happiness
did not last long, because she tried to share it with her mother. The mother, who befriended
an Israeli psychiatrist in Waiora Clinic, followed his instructions. That psychiatrist turned
out to be a bad man as well as a bad doctor.
He told Rebecca's mother that Rebecca should not be allowed to stop taking psychiatric
drugs, and he offered his "help" by instructing the mother to get Rebecca moved
immediately to Waiora Clinic under his "care." Rebecca, hardly a couple of weeks
in Waiora Clinic, was told to take the Clozapine as the new "medication" for her,
or else. She refused, of course, and that bad doctor then ordered the police to pick her up
from home and drop her at the Heatherton Hospital, where he was in charge of the involuntary
To cut the story short, he failed to force the Clozapine on Rebecca, as I was strongly opposed
to, of course, to this new psychiatric atrocity against my daughter. However, he kept torturing
her with the dangerous Risperdal, instead of
Clozapine, for the first few years that Rebecca was
obliged to get "treatment" at the Waiora Clinic.
I could go on to tell you how Dr. Robert Shields bungled her treatment during the last two
years in Waiora, but I won't. However, it is important to let you know that after her first
incarceration at the Alfred, in July 2005, he did agree to gradually lower her Clozapine dose
to 100mg, and with good results.
However, he bungled the treatment by ordering her to take Effexor as well, and when he
realized his mistake, he withdraw the Effexor abruptly. The inevitable result was that
Rebecca was plunged into a crisis of her doctor's making. Yet he continued his bungle by
considering her crisis as a relapse, and by instantly doubling her
Clozapine intake! All of which made things worse for her,
and yet Dr. Shields blamed her crisis on her "being very sick," rather than
admit that he was wrong, and try to correct his own mistakes.
Looking forward to your reply, Benjamin Merhav.
List of additional email addresses for protest emails:
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Posted: October 14, 2006