The Case of Karina Hansen

I am writing with regards to a very serious and urgent situation happening in Denmark, a repetition of the Justina Pelletier case but worse, as this case has support across Europe by a group of so called prominent psychiatrists. It is the incarceration of a gravely sick young woman, Karina Hansen, who suffers from a serious physical disease, being held in a secure unit against her will. I would like to say that this case is one of its kind, an isolated incident, perhaps a medical misunderstanding, but that sadly is not the case.

Both the APA (American Psychiatric Association) and the broader psychiatric profession, are currently indulging in a seriously unjustified power grab, and they and their claims are in desperate need of much closer and tougher (and ongoing) external scrutiny then they have been subject to date. [1]

Diagnosed with M.E after contracting an Epstein Barr infection at the age of 16, Danish citizen, 25 year old Karina Hansen is like many people across the world coping with severe M.E. Before February 12th this year, she was being cared for at home by her parents who follow the advice given by the ME experts and her GP about her well being and treatment. She has been diagnosed with M.E by at least four doctors. She has tried a Graded Exercise treatment programme in the past but it exacerbated her symptoms to such an extent that she had to stop.

This is a sad echo of Sophia Mirza who died in 2005:-

The following information was supplied by Mrs Criona Wilson, mother of Sophia Mirza, on 24 January 2011:

“The 2nd person, a woman aged 32, (Sophia Mirza) was reported to have refused to eat and drink. She was supposed to have refused to see a doctor.” Both of these statements are incorrect.

“The doctors had treated Sophia, who had severe M.E, as being mentally ill, despite the fact that The World Health Organisation states that it is a physical disease. They forcibly sectioned her in a mental hospital. Having been released from there by a tribunal, her doctor removed her from that practice. The doctor in the second practice told me that M.E was a mental illness and that she let patients ‘get on with it’. Sophia was terrified of calling on that doctor, as previously it had been made clear to her that she could, once again, be ‘sectioned’. Because of her severe symptoms she was unable to eat or drink, save for a minute amount. After she died the doctor refused to visit to confirm Sophia’s death. Apparently they too had removed Sophia from their practice, four months previously and without our knowledge. There was no help for Sophia.

“Sophia had to suffer in unbearable agony and die alone. To infer that it was Sophia’s ‘free choice’ is not true. Being frightened of the doctor and being unable to eat or drink are totally different from refusing to see the doctor and refusing to eat.”

Críona Wilson (Sophia Mirza’s mother) [2]

On Feb 12th 2013, 5 policemen from Holstebro county, Denmark, came to Karina’s house and forcibly removed her from her bed. There were also 2 doctors, a locksmith and 2 social workers present.

Karina called for her mother’s help, but her mother was blocked by the police from aiding her. Karina used her mobile phone for the first time in years to call her mother, her father, her cousin and her sister, Janni. Karina is so ill that she can usually only speak in one or two word sentences, but during her removal she managed to call her father and say: “Help Dad, in my room”, and to her sister: “Help, Janni, I don’t know where they are taking me”. Karina’s mother could not answer her phone because she was surrounded by policemen.

Karina was then driven to a hospital in an ambulance. Her parents were not told where Karina was being taken or what reason they had for taking her. No paperwork was given to her parents. Later that day, they got a phone call and were told that Karina was at Hammel Neurocenter and that someone would call them every day at 10 a.m. to tell them how Karina was doing. They were also told that no one could visit Karina for 14 days.

On the morning of Feb. 13th, Karina managed to call her mother from her mobile phone. She said: “How can I get out of here? I can’t take this”. (”Hvordan kan jeg komme væk herfra? Jeg kan ikke klare det.”) Then the connection was cut.

A few days later, Karina’s parents got a letter from a psychiatrist, Nils Balle Christensen (NBC), which said he would be in charge of Karina’s treatment at Hammel Neurocenter. He also wrote that because “of her condition”, Karina was not allowed visitors for 14 days. That ban on visitors was later extended to three weeks because NBC was on vacation.

Nils Balle Christensen works at The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. He and his boss, psychiatrist Per Fink, believe that M.E is a functional disorder. In Denmark, a functional disorder is understood to be a psychosomatic illness. The treatments the clinic recommends are: exercise, (GET), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and anti-depressants. The psychiatrists at this clinic have no experience with severely-ill M.E patients and we fear that Karina is being treated incorrectly and that their mistreatment of her will lead to a severe and permanent worsening of her condition.

Karina’s parents have not seen their daughter since Feb. 12th

Karina’s parents and sister were at the Neurocenter on April 1st to try to visit Karina, but the parents were not allowed to see her. Karina’s sister, Janni, who is a nurse, was allowed to see Karina for a few minutes. A staff member followed Janni into the room. Janni said that Karina was extremely pale, was not able to talk, and did not show signs she recognized Janni. Janni often saw Karina when she was at home as she helped their mother care for Karina. In Janni’s, opinion, Karina’s condition is worse now than before she was hospitalized.

Why was Karina forcibly removed?

Karina’s parents and lawyer have still not received any official paperwork from any government body or doctor about the reason for Karina’s removal.  They have not received a treatment plan or copies of Karina’s journals. No charges have been made against her parents. This case has never been heard by a court. Karina’s parents do not know when/if they will be allowed to see her or when/if Karina will be allowed to come home. Karina’s parents and her lawyer have power of attorney for Karina, but this is being ignored. The regional state administrations for Mid-Jutland (Statsforvaltningen Midtjylland) are trying to appoint someone from their office as a guardian for Karina.

The only information the family receives about Karina comes from a head doctor from Hammel Neurocenter, Jens Gyring (JG). He now calls Karina’s father twice a week and tells him how Karina is. But the parents have a hard time trusting what is being said because they get conflicting information. NBC says Karina is improving every day, but JG says there is no change. Her sister thinks Karina is worse. JG says he is taking all of his orders about Karina’s care from NBC and that the treatment given is a rehabilitation program.

There are many unanswered questions, such as:

Which government body gave the order to remove Karina from her home and which doctor signed it?

What law was used to remove Karina?

Why are the parents and the lawyer not allowed to see any paperwork about the case?

Why are the parents not allowed to visit?  Are there any charges made against the parents?  Karina’s mother was paid by the county to take care of Karina and there was never any report of neglect. After Karina was taken, her mother was fired from her job on the grounds that the job was no longer needed. [3]

Since I have been working as a patient advocate for neurological diseases, I have witnessed the shocking abuse of a group of very sick and disabled people just like Karina Hansen. I have worked on two cases preventing the sectioning of a patient.

The situation in Denmark does not only affect the Hansen family; it is setting a precedent for the treatment of patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and other related diseases and this needs to stop. I am calling to EVERYONE to support ANY action taken to the European Courts to pass legislation to prevent any patient with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis being sectioned under the mental health act or to have parental custody withdrawn to the state.

For many years now, the rise of prominent British psychiatrists Professors Simon Wessely, Peter White, Michael Sharpe and their European counterparts have had their opinions hold sway over an illness that is not even within their education remit. They are psychiatrists, not doctors. Diagnostic uncertainty has led to a circle of doctors who believe M.E is psychosomatic. Just because the NHS, in the UK, has not developed proper testing or will not pay for the more expensive tests that can show up the underlying possible causes of M.E , it is extremely dangerous to then make the jump to say that patients should be considered as either having psychological difficulties or an adjustment disorder.
On the basis of these minimal criteria, anyone newly ill with M.E, going to an uninformed clinician is likely to be given a somatoform misinterpretation or be referred down a psychiatric pathway, away from the truth of their physical disease and exposed to potentially abusive treatments that deny their physical reality. (Michael Evison)

Many neurologists I have come across do not understand M.E as a distinct disease let alone believe it is a neurological condition as defined by the World Health Organization.

So deeming it not a real disease, the doctor has no other choice but to diagnose the neurological symptoms as a “functional disorder” or “functional somatic syndrome” which in reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The patient KNOWS they are sick but the medical profession thinks they are bringing it on by themselves.

Much is now known about M.E that these theories should no longer hold sway but sadly they do. Autopsies on various patients have shown inflammation in the dorsal root ganglia (spinal cord) and severe viruses in the brain. [4]

The problem is that in the United Kingdom, for example, there is not one specialist unit or consultant who deals with the very severe end of the spectrum of the illness. Doctors come across these patients who are underweight, paralysed, mute, often tube fed and are aghast. Since they believe M.E is psychosomatic, instead of going to read published papers proving WHY the patient is sick, they assume the patient is making themselves sick and calls in liaison psychiatry. Why else would a patient be in hospital? M.E doesn’t make you sick now, come on? Patients are woken up in the middle of the night, the lights blared in their faces and made to get up and turn the light on to end the torturous pain it causes. Of course the patient can’t move. I’ve witnessed one young lady having a seizure and left on the floor in a pool of her own urine. The nurse was heard to say “you can change this behaviour, you can get up if you want to”. Such abuse of patients’ needs to end yet it is happening every day. Of all the cases like this I have heard – 99% of them were given a clean bill of mental health – no mental illness or issues reported.

The little boy in Germany who was exercised to his limit and died of a brain aneurysm, the woman in Holland who was refused screening for a lump because her doctors deemed her a hypochondriac and she died of breast cancer. These cases are REAL and are happening across Europe because no one is standing up for the patients.

M.E. is a disease, a disease that has been diagnosed for half a century and coded under neurological diseases in ICD-10, the World Health Organization’s current International Classification of Diseases (G93.3) – and it has been there for FORTY YEARS. [5]

The whole “CFS problem” might not have gotten away from us had the authorities followed the advice of specialists who strongly suggested, in 1987, that the 1980s outbreaks were due to M.E.

And M.E. would be a well-known disease today, as M.S. is, had it not been for a cult of British psychiatrists who claimed to follow the theories of “biopsychosocial” medicine (and whose answers fit well the needs of insurance companies and national health agencies to save money after the unexpected jolt of AIDS). [6]

“I have always despised the concept and name “chronic fatigue syndrome,” created in 1988 to describe a group of patients who had previously been thought to have “Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus.” “CFS” is not scientific. It is a social construct, a shape-shifter, something that gets redefined as those in a position of power, or society at large, wish to redefine it. But it had one advantage. It helped researchers study a group of patients who have been sick for decades with a mysterious, apparently contagious, disease. It helped researchers define subgroups of patients who exhibited similar patterns of biomarkers and pathogens. If CDC defines CFS so that those patients are no longer considered to have the disease, then what can we say they have? And what is left that can be called “CFS”? “Funtional Disorders”, “Functional Somatic Syndromes?” [7]

Some medical historians consider neurasthenia to be the diagnostic predecessor of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  The following commentary on neurasthenia is a section from a book entitled, “A Handbook of Practical Treatment” edited by John H. Musser, M.D. and O. A.  Kelly, M.D. which was published in 1912.  The first sentence sets the tone for the whole discussion and provides a link to modern CFS research: “When we come to study the symptoms of neurasthenia, we find that they are essentially those of chronic fatigue.” [8]

Simon Wessely in particular liked the term but in choosing the term neurasthenia, Wessely referenced not Freud but a New York physician named Beard who coined the term “neurasthenia” in 1869. Beard’s book, “American Nervousness”, is well-known among women’s studies professors for advancing the theory that girls who were allowed to study science and math in high school would end up with either a shriveled uterus (his version of “hysteria”), or struggle with a life-long “nervous condition” (neurasthenia). Beard openly wondered whether allowing girls to attend high school would result in the death of the “American race”: The “Celtic race” (Irish immigrants) did not permit their daughters a secondary education, and they enjoyed large families as opposed to the smaller numbers of children born to the middle class of the “American race”.

“Beard and Mitchell have returned to obscurity, but their disease [i.e. neurasthenia] is back with a vengeance. My local bookshop has just given “ME” (myalgic encephalomyelitis) the final seal of approval, its own shelf, a necessary manoeuvre since five books on the subject appeared in as many week, and there was no space left between meditation and menopause… all the ME books draw on immunology, virology, allergy, and AIDS where needed (which, in the case of AIDS, should be never)…A little more psychology and a little less T-cells would be welcome” .What your patients may be reading Wessely S BMJ 1989:298:1532-1533. [9]

I have to say I never thought I would see that book cited as a reputable source by a contemporary scholar, but both Wessely and the late Stephen Straus of NIH used it frequently.

“In England, the insistence that CFS is really neurasthenia has led to cruel results, with women thrown into mental hospitals against their will. CBT (to cure the patient of her “inappropriate illness beliefs”) and GET (to get her back into shape after she has allowed herself to become deconditioned) are the only treatments recommended by British public health.”

The result is that patients with the most severe cases of this disease are forced into hiding, bereft of all medical care whatsoever.

M.E. would never be linked to the mysterious illness of the late 1980s as a possible biomedical explanation except in reverse. British psychiatrists eagerly grabbed the name “chronic fatigue syndrome” to portray M.E. as a psychogenic illness, “neurasthenia” (formerly known as “the vapors”). According to the British psychiatrists (Simon Wessely, Peter White, Michael Sharpe, Trudy Chalder, among others), patients with CFS had allowed themselves to become deconditioned because of “inappropriate illness beliefs.” A course of “cognitive behaviour therapy” (CBT), to teach the patient she wasn’t really sick at all, followed by “graded exercise therapy” (GET), to get her back into shape and on the job, was all that was needed.

British psychiatrists used a definition that omitted the sickest patients, excluded anyone with a physically diagnosable condition, and included patients with depression and anxiety disorders. Nothing could be further from the Fukuda definition – yet even today, because they say it is “CFS,” the media and many medical experts assume it is the same thing.

Now back to Karina.

This consulting doctor, LG, called Karina’s GP on May 1st and told her that a psychiatrist in Copenhagen – who had never seen Karina – concluded from his information that Karina must be in a “lunatic-like state” and should be committed immediately. The GP did not want to do this; she wrote that there should be an evaluation to indicate if this was necessary. The GP warned the parents about the contents of the call from the Board of Health’s consulting doctor.
I want to make it clear: this circle of psychiatrists DO NOT BELIEVE IN ILLNESS.

Neurological diseases are a complicated area that psychiatry has decided to wander into over the past twenty years or so creating a friction between those who genuinely can diagnose proper neurological conditions and those who believe only in “neuropsychiatry”.

Thirty years ago, M.E was considered a form of hysteria, the term “neurasthenia” was used to describe a condition that doctors primarily thought existed in the mind. Psychiatrists went on to develop the terms “functional disorder” or “conversion disorder”.

The tide is turning against the old school of thought but a group of somehow influential Danish psychiatrists including Karina’s doctors are trying to reclassify entire illnesses, including ME, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic pain, post pregnancy pain, chronic whiplash pain, the list goes on, as a new invention called “Bodily Distress Disorder” which is incredibly worrying and Karina is their new guinea pig to experiment their theories on.

The Bodily Distress definition was introduced in 2010 by a Danish psychiatrist, Professor. Per Fink who heads The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics in Aarhus. As far as he is concerned, functional disorders are psychosomatic (in the mind) and patients (including those with M.E) are treated with antidepressant medication. M.E is not the only illness PER FINK wants to classify. Anyone working in gynaecology or gastroenterology needs to be very concerned.

Per Fink wants “One single diagnosis, bodily distress syndrome, succeeded to capture 10 diagnostic categories of functional somatic syndromes and somatoform disorders, as representing “body distress” instead of “well-recognized illness.”
The man is completely deluded and crazy yet somehow he has the ear of the Government. His theories are completely washed away by medical science.

Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/parliament-hearing-for-confined-danish-me-patient-karina-hansen-tomorrow/#HPlUC6iMA3F6oc4l.99

These psychiatrists have support from the likes of Professor Peter White and Francis Creed who have prominent positions within Government advisory roles in the United Kingdom. Things could start getting a whole lot worse for many patients.

Take the case of Justina Pellitier in the United States. Justina was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease but doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital decided to override this and diagnose her with somataform disorder.

Now that the tragic abduction of Justina Pelletier by Boston Children’s Hospital has been resolved after a national outcry, a bipartisan group of Congressional representatives are introducing new legislation to prevent the kind of medical abuses that led to Justina’s forced confinement for more than 16 months. Justina’s situation is not unique, but representative of a larger problem with Child Protection Services and hospitals all across the U.S. that use the foster care system to legally abduct children for medical research. [10]

I call upon everyone who reads this letter to send it en mass to your MP, your GP to your local newspaper, to anyone and everyone. If we don’t fight back, then we will see a complete collapse in the way neurological diseases and women in general are treated by the medical profession.

The Danish State believe Per Fink’s “version” of M.E, not the official WHO classification which has resulted in a serious breach of human rights.

Do not let the rest of Europe follow, please support Karina Hansen.

Kind Regards

Gabi Lewis

[1] http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/dsm-5-proposals-revised-on-14-january-new-category-simple-somatic-symptom-disorder.8253/page-2

[2] www.sophiaandme.org.uk

[3] http://justiceforkarina.webs.com/

[4] http://cfspatientadvocate.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/ad-astra-per-aspera-dr-john-chias-ideas.html

[5] http://slightlyalive.blogspot.co.uk/

[6] http://slightlyalive.blogspot.co.uk/

[7] http://slightlyalive.blogspot.co.uk/

[8] http://www.meridianinstitute.com/neurasth.htm

[9] http://www.jstor.org/pss/29704265

[10] . http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/justinas-law-seeks-to-end-experimental-medical-research-on-children-seized-by-child-protection-services/

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