Then I went off to section poor old X, who couldn't tell at all the difference between his delusions and reality. It was one of the more coercive MHA assessments I have been to, as everyone including the family knew he had been ill for months and couldn't be persuaded to take his drugs. I was allowed to leave after signing the forms, so I don't know whether it was left to the four policemen loitering in the hallway to manhandle him into their car. It reminded me of the first line of Kafka's "The Trial" - "Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning".As you may tell, she didn't enjoy it. But it is worthwhile doing, because one of the criteria laid down by the Mental Health Act is that the mental problem from which the patient suffers must be treatable. You are depriving them of their liberty temporarily so that they can be made better. But our illiberal and nannying Government has plans to change the law so that doctors will be both allowed and obliged to “section” people with untreatable problems like personality disorder. Imagine being deprived of your liberty by your doctor just because of the sort of person you are. You might indeed imagine that someone had been telling lies about you.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Martha “sectioned” a patient last week, which means that she conducted a formal examination under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. As I mentioned before, in my experience the people involved always take things seriously because it is not a trivial thing to deprive someone of their liberty. This time it was a young man whom we know well. Sadly he has had quite severe paranoid schizophrenia since his teens and Martha and I have both “sectioned” him several times in the past. Martha takes up the story: