Citizens Committee on Human Rights

The Mental Health Watchdog

Australian National Office

Electroconvulsive therapy given without proper authorisation at Royal Darwin Hospital

By Emilie Gramenz, ABC NEWS, Posted 15 Aug 2019

ECT machine

A young Aboriginal woman received two rounds of electroconvulsive therapy at the Royal Darwin Hospital without the proper authorisation, according to a report from the Health and Community Services Complaints Commission.

The patient — referred to as AB — received four courses of the controversial therapy over a period of eight days.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat certain psychiatric conditions, and involves passing a controlled electric current through the brain, affecting brain activity and aiming to relieve severe psychotic and depressive symptoms.

AB was admitted to the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) for involuntary mental health treatment in December 2016. She was from a remote community, did not speak English as a first language, and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-15/electroconvulsive-therapy-consent-indigenous-patient-darwin/11414958