Chief Psychiatrist defends use of 'electric shock treatment'
Published: October 2, 2012
Chief Psychiatrist defends use of 'electric shock treatment'

The Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric hospital, Dr. Akwasi Osei has defended the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a mode of psychiatric treatment.

The therapy which involves the use of electric shocks to calm patients has come under intense criticisms with the rights campaign group, Human Rights Watch describing it as inhumane.

The Group in their latest report “Like a Death Sentence” described what it says are the grim conditions patients face in the country’s psychiatric hospitals.

Medi Ssengooba of the group’s Health and Human Rights desk, told Joy News the use of electroconvulsive therapy as a mode of treatment at psychiatric homes has irreversible damage on patients.

He mentioned memory loss, trauma as some of the many effects of ECT on the patients, insisting the therapy has been condemned in many countries.

He said the therapy should be aborted as soon as practicable.

But in a reaction, the Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric hospital in an interview with Joy News said the use of ECT has been misconstrued.

Dr Akwasi Osei noted the therapy has been unnecessarily bastardised.

He said like a doctor recommending the use of an injection instead of a pill to cure malaria; or recommending for the amputation of a patient’s leg instead of allowing a cancer to fester and spread to other parts of the body, to save the life, so it is with the use of ECT.

He explained the ECT therapy is the lesser of two evils.

Dr Osei however conceded that conditions in some of the psychiatric hospitals are deplorable but stated with the passage of the Mental Health Bill into Law things will change.

He however called for an effective implementation of the law.

 

Source: Ghana/Myjoyonline.com

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