Law Project for Psychiatric Rights: PsychRights  


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In Re: the Matter of an Information Request
 
Alaska Superior Court Case No. 3AN-16-00695DN
Alaska Supreme Court Case No. S-16816

Summary

On June 1, 2016, Dr. Peter G°tzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Center testified in a forced psychiatric drugging proceeding held in Anchorage, Alaska and in connection with that reviewed four forced drugging petitions. Dr. G°tzsche found all four petitions strikingly similar and failed to provide the information required by the Alaska Supreme Court in its Bigley v. Alaska Psychiatric Institute decision. Dr. G°tzsche found this problem similar to his experience in Denmark, and developed a research protocol, "Forced admission and forced treatment in psychiatry: are patients' rights being respected?" (Research Protocol) to compare 30 consecutive involuntary medication cases in Alaska with 30 such cases in Denmark to evaluate if:

  1. The petitions comply with the requirements of Bigley in Alaska and Danish requirements in Denmark.
  2. Information is provided that documents that the patient cannot provide informed consent.
  3. Information about the psychiatric drugs the patient takes or will be forced to take is accurate.
  4. A less intrusive alternative is available.
  5. The combination of drugs the patient takes is safe.
  6. The arguments for using force are reasonable and documented.
  7. The patient's rights have been respected.
  8. There are striking similarities from case to case considering that patients are different.
    Furthermore, the judge's ruling will be noted.

Since these court records are normally confidential, on June 30, 2016, Dr. G°tzsche requested access to them from the presiding judge of the Anchorage, Alaska trial court in order to conduct the Research Protocol.  The Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) objected and after a year had gone by without the presiding judge ruling, on September 7, 2017, Dr. G°tzsche requested the Alaska Supreme Court grant his request for access to the court records or order the presiding judge to decide within 30 days (after the Alaska Supreme Court rules).  On October 16, 2017, the Alaska Supreme Court simply ordered the trial court to decide whether to grant the request, making a clear record of the parties arguments and the court's reasoning.  The trial court held a status conference on November 1, 2017, to discuss how to proceed.   A year and a half later, in February of 2019, without any action by the Judge, PsychRights asked the Alaska Supreme Court to grant the request.  The Alaska Supreme Court denied the request, saying PsychRights should ask the Judge for a decision.  PsychRights did so on March 11, 2019, which API opposed.  On November 4, 2019, the Court floated a proposal that the respondents be asked if they wanted to participate in the study.  PsychRights, API and the Public Defender Agency all found problems with that so on January 30, 2020, the Court sent out a new proposal that the clerk of court write letters to the respondents for which addresses were known to ask for their consent.  PsychRights didn't really like it, but in the interest of getting this done agreed to it.  However, API opposed it on February 7, 2020.  On August 24, 2020, the Court issued an Order (Proposed Procedures), in which it directed Dr. G°tzsche to propose a form of notice to the respondents and the mechanisms to produce the redacted files and also asked whether Dr. G°tzsche also wanted API's records for each respondent.  On August 28, 2020, API responded by saying Dr. G°tzsche had never asked for API's records and providing them introduced lots of problems.  On August 31, 2020, Dr. G°tzsche proposed a form of notice and mechanism to proposed a mechanism to produce the redacted files and advised the Court he was not seeking API records.  The documents were provided Dr. G°tzsche in February of 2021 and and the results were published Systematic violations of patients' rights and safety: Forced medication of a cohort of 30 patients in Alaska, by Gail Tasch and Peter C G°tzsche, medRxiv preprint, November 23, 2022.

Court Documents


Last modified 11/24/2022
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