Jim Gottstein: Patient Rights in Mental Healthcare


09This week on the Mad in America podcast, we talk to Jim Gottstein, president and founder of the organisation Law Project for Psychiatric Rights.

Jim talks to us about his own experiences with the psychiatric system, patient rights in mental healthcare and the recent trial between Wendy Dolin and the UK Pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Jim’s experiences growing up in Alaska
  • How Jim became involved with the psychiatric system
  • That Jim was told he was mentally ill and he needed drugs for the rest of his life and would never be able to practice law again
  • How he found a Psychiatrist who told him that anyone who doesn’t sleep could become psychotic and that he could manage the problem
  • How his experience with the psychiatric system changed the focus of his life
  • About his involvement in a case involving the State of Alaska stealing a million acre land trust for the “mentally ill”
  • That the book ‘Mad in America‘ by Robert Whitaker provided a litigation roadmap for challenging forced psychiatric drugging
  • How Jim formed the organisation Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) to mount a strategic legal campaign against forced drugging and Electroshock in the USA
  • How the number of people detained or forcibly treated in the mental health system is dramatically out of step with the reality demonstrated by Open Dialog and Soteria type approaches
  • That changing public attitudes to the hidden parts of the mental healthcare system is very important
  • How cases can arise very rapidly, requiring almost immediate response which is sometimes difficult
  • That the deck is really stacked against the patient because they are having to defend themselves against medical professionals and their lawyers while they have no credibility because they are charged with being mentally ill
  • The events in the trial between the widow of Stuart Dolin and the UK Pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline
  • That it was a legal first because Wendy Dolin sued the manufacturer of the brand name drug, Paxil, even though Stuart Dolin was taking the generic version of the drug manufactured by Mylan
  • How Wendy Dolin’s lawyers came up with a common law negligence claim against GSK that GSK had a duty to provide accurate information about the drug
  • How GSK manipulated the science of the clinical trials to downplay the suicide risk
  • That Dr. Joseph Glenmullen and Dr. David Healy were key expert witnesses
  • That the jury unanimously found GSK guilty of withholding information
  • That GSK have stated their intention to appeal the verdict
  • How the appeal process will work
  • Why we shouldn’t trust what Pharmaceutical manufacturers tell us about clinical trials
  • The lack of informed consent where the prescribing of psychiatric drugs is concerned
  • That outcomes for patients who have either not taken, or withdrawn from, antipsychotic drugs are much better than for those who continue with the drugs

Relevant Links:

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights

Bob Fiddaman’s blog of the Dolin vs GSK trial

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Jim’s article on Mad in America

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