Who decides if the cause of an illness is physical or psychological? Should psychiatrists have the right to incarcerate patients and force psychological treatment if they disagree with a physical diagnosis?
A dispute over the cause and treatment of a young woman’s illness led to her being forcibly removed from her parents' care on February 12, 2013.
The psychiatrists responsible for this claim she has a mental illness (somatoform illness), while her doctors and parents insist she has a physical neurological illness called ME. The Danish woman, Karina Hansen, is still hospitalized against her will and forced to receive treatments that have been proven to hurt ME patients.1 Karina’s sister reports that Karina is much worse than before she was hospitalized. You can read Karina’s story here:
This heated conflict will now be discussed at an official hearing at the Danish parliament on March 19th in Copenhagen.2
The psychiatrists in charge of Karina work at The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics in Aarhus, Denmark.3 This clinic has created so much patient dissatisfaction that 16 patient associations requested that the clinic be investigated. A hearing has now been called and Karina’s lawyer is scheduled to make a presentation about her case. Other speakers include doctors who are specialists in conditions this clinic treats with purely psychological methods. These conditions include whiplash, fibromyalgia, IBS, PMS, Chronic Pelvic Pain, etc.
A Danish Justina Pelletier?
Karina Hansen’s story has many parallels to the story of American teenager Justina Pelletier. Both girls were forcibly hospitalized in February last year and both sets of parents were accused of mistreating their daughter by following medical advice from experts in the girls’ respective diseases. Justina has mitochondrial disease. In both cases, the psychiatrists in charge refused to allow a second opinion. And in both cases, the human rights of the patient and the parents have been completely ignored.
Justina’s story will be told on the Dr. Phil show on March 17th.4 Karina’s case will be discussed at the open hearing in the Danish parliament on March 19th. The hearing will be streamed live and later posted on Youtube. The hearing will be in Danish, but an English language statement about the hearing will be released within a week from this source.
Rebecca Hansen - ME Association, Denmark - firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Reporting of Harms Associated with Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
2 Consultation on functional disorders,19 March 2014