Severely-ill ME patient held in hospital against her will. Karina Hansen, 24, was forcibly removed from home almost 3 months ago and committed to a hospital. Her parents recently held a meeting with a Danish parliament member, Liselott Blixt, to try to get answers. Below you can read about the day she was taken.
Karina suffers from severe ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and has been completely bed-ridden since 2009. ME is a neuro-immune disease that usually starts after an infection. The hallmark of the illness is intolerance for activity, called post-exertional malaise. You can read about severe ME here: http://www.stonebird.co.uk/symptoms.html
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 ME 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 ME 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.
What is the treatment plan for Karina? The hospital requires that a treatment plan be made on admission.
Why all the secrecy?
Thanks to all who have sent a postcard to Karina. I will be posting more information and updates soon.
ME Association, Denmark
This account is re-posted with permission – from https://www.facebook.com/notes/me-foreningen-me-association-denmark/update-on-karina-hansen-english-may-9th-2013/374675809309189