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The Church's exposure of the atrocities at Chelmsford resulted in an international scandal and much needed psychiatric reform.

Bailey’s technique for handling mentally disturbed Chelmsford patients who were sent to him for help and care was essentially simple, if heavy-handed. He would place them in a coma for up to two weeks, during
which period he would administer daily doses of electroshock therapy and/or psychosurgery, often without the consent or knowledge of the “sleeping” patient.

From mid-1963 to 1979, during his autocratic reign at Chelmsford, the deaths from this “treatment” mounted. Then there were the suicides by patients who were able to make it out of the facility alive, although the number of these was difficult to verify.

In the mid-1970s, CCHR began to receive reports of what was happening at Chelmsford. And by 1978, after investigating, it had collected hard evidence of six deaths related to deep sedation therapy. At that point, CCHR went public. Exposure of these atrocities resulted in an international scandal and much-needed psychiatric reform.

What followed was a significant demonstration of the unwillingness of authorities to view emperors in their nakedness – and the failure of the psychiatric establishment to police itself. It was, in fact, a tedious merry-go-round of letter writing and lobbying. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists was given the evidence, and did nothing. The Minister of Health of the state of New South Wales was given the evidence, and did nothing. The Health Commission and the Medical Board were given the evidence, but they each referred CCHR to the other. Meanwhile, public relations attacks were mounted against CCHR.


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