Kathleen Olive Florence Blain was aged 79. She was described as having a ‘relatively uncomplicated medical history’ prior to 2011 when she suffered from a stroke. The following account of Kathleen’s ‘treatment’ is from the recently released inquest report into her death. Thankfully Kathleen is no longer suffering the indignity of this enforced ‘care’.
31 May 2011 – Kathleen had a stroke while at home and was transferred to hospital. While being treated in Hospital she had a non ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (mild heart attack).
9 June 2011 – Kathleen was transferred to a Stroke Rehabilitation Unit.
Records state that Kathleen began to withdraw and would not to engage with those around her, particularly health professionals. She would deliberately close her eyes and not answer their questions, or would provide monosyllabic answers. She also began to refuse most food and drink and occasionally her medication. She expressed sadness and, on occasions, she expressed a desire to die. Kathleen was diagnosed with depression and medicated accordingly.
9 June 2011 – 11 June 2011 Kathleen was put on mirtazapine.
17 June 2011 – 22 June 2011 she was then put on citalopram.
From 23 June 2011 – 5 July 2011 Kathleen’s dosages were increased.
6 July 2011 – 15 July 2011 dosages were further increased.
Late July 2011 increased again to ‘optimal’ level.
The inquest report states that despite the dosages being at an ‘optimal’ level, Kathleen was still depressed and the citalopram was not considered to be working.
The ‘experts’ then decided to switch the SSRI citalopram to an SNRI. A ‘step down’ program was introduced to wean Kathleen from citalopram.
28 July 2011 – Kathleen was started on desvenlafaxine (a derivative of venlafaxine/Effexor).
31 July 2011 – Kathleen began refusing to take her medication. As desvenlafaxine could not be crushed up, a decision was made to switch to venlafaxine (administered through a feeding tube).
August 2011 – October 2011 Effexor was gradually increased until it was at its maximum dose. The inquest report states – “it appeared to be ineffective”.
As Kathleen’s ‘depression’ seemed to be ‘resistant to pharmacological treatment’ her doctor then considered electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
31 August 2011 – an application was made to the Guardianship Board for permission to give Kathleen ECT.
1 September 2011 – the Guardianship Board granted an order for 12 treatments of ECT.
30 September – Kathleen was subjected to ECT.
5 October – Kathleen was subjected to ECT.
7 October – Kathleen was subjected to ECT.
10 October – Kathleen was subjected to ECT
12 October – Kathleen was subjected to ECT.
Death – 14 October 2011
After each ‘treatment’ of ETC it was reported that “Mrs Blain suffered no ill effects”. Despite this, on 14th October Kathleen was dead. The cause of death was found to be from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and acute pulmonary oedema (caused by heart failure).
In summing up, Coroner Mark Frederick Johns stated “I consider that Mrs Blain’s medical treatment at the Repatriation General Hospital was appropriate at all times and I have no recommendations to make in this case”.
28 March 2012 – 5 months after Kathleen died the FDA issued a drug-safety letter regarding citalopram heart risks. The warning recommended that citalopram should no longer be used in doses greater than 40 mg per day, as it could cause potentially dangerous abnormalities in the electrical activity of the heart, up to and including death. For people over 60, the recommended dose was reduced to 20mgs. The warning further provided that Citalopram is not recommended in patients with existing heart problems, including with Kathleen’s condition – recent acute myocardial infarction.
The treatment forced on Kathleen was quite literally, shocking. That the coroner thought Kathleen’s treatment was ‘appropriate’ at any time, is even more shocking. In my opinion Kathleen was abused. She was subjected to the worst form of elder abuse, done in the name of ‘treatment’ by health professionals, whom Kathleen’s family entrusted with her ‘care’. The FDA warning letter was too little, too late. There is no doubt that future generations will look back on the ‘medicalisation of normal’ and wonder why we let this happen. Kathleen had a stroke and a heart attack – she was entitled to feel depressed. She did not need to be forcibly restrained in order to be drugged into oblivion and given shock therapy.
The revolution has begun – Rest in peace Kathleen Olive Florence Blain.