Michael Jackson Loses Life to Serotonergic Medications Just as Elvis Did

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/html; charset=”us-ascii”

Thursday June 25, 2009 Michael Jackson lost his life due to the organ stopping effect of Serotonin Syndrome thanks to a drug that should have been removed from the market decades ago – Demerol. A serotonergic medication similar in action to antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and other pain killers.

Serotonin constricts smooth muscle tissue. The major organs of the body are composed of smooth muscle tissue. When serotonin levels increase too high the major organs constrict and shut down. Elevated serotonin, which all of these medications produce, causes death via multiple organ failure. This is the same way Daniel Smith, Anna Nicole Smith’s young son lost his life to the combination of four serotonergic medications.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & author of Prozac: Panacea
or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare & audio Help! I
Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant! ()

Are Drugs to Blame for Jackson’s Death?
PopEater
posted: 13 MINUTES AGO
comments: 1505
filed under: Music News

var addthis_pub = “aolnews”; var addthis_options = ’email, myspace, aim, delicious, facebook, google, digg, stumbleupon, twitter, more’; var addthis_exclude = ‘print’;

PrintBookmark and ShareShare
Text SizeAAA

switchFont(1,”smallText”);

Skip over this content

Michael Jackson

Getty Images
As the world continues to try to grasp and make sense of the incredibly shocking death of Michael Jackson, several people close to the family and investigation are hinting that prescription drugs may have played a role in the King of Pop’s demise.
TMZ is reporting that a Jackson family members have confirmed that Michael received a shot of Demerol just before Noon on Thursday, and that the dosage was “too much.” They say Jackson typically recieved a shot of Demerol daily.
Britain’s The Sun, citing sources at the UCLA hospital where Jackson was treated, is reporting that Jackson stopped breathing shortly after a shot of Demerol, a drug similar to morphine. “Shortly after taking the Demerol he started to experience slow shallow breathing. His breathing gradually got slower and slower until it stopped,” the Sun source said.

909 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Mother Charged in Newborn’s Death: North Dakota

Paragraph 8 reads: “Bismarck Police Detective Scott Betz testified during the hearing about his interview with Glum while she was in the hospital following the child’s death. Betz said the coroner informed him and another detective that Glum may have some mental health issues after telling them her daughter’s death did not appear to have been a miscarriage. Glum told Betz she was on antidepressants and thyroid medication.”

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2009/06/24/news/local/188225.txt

Glum attempts to suppress statements

Jun 24, 2009 – 04:05:04 CDT
By JENNY MICHAEL

Bismarck Tribune

The attorney for a woman accused of killing her newborn daughter says the woman’s statements to law enforcement shouldn’t be used in court because officers were not diligent enough in getting information about her mental health.

Defense attorney Tim Purdon argued Tuesday that Gennifer Glum’s statements to detectives during an hour-and-a-half interview while she was in the hospital should be suppressed, as her guardians did not consent to waive her Miranda rights.

Glum, 28, was charged in December 2007 with Class AAfelony murder for the Dec. 6, 2007, asphyxiation death of her newborn daughter. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

According to a police report, Glum gave birth to a girl at her home in north Bismarck around 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2007. Glum’s father called 911, and the infant was taken to Medcenter One and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The state medical examiner performed an autopsy on the child, and preliminary reports classify the death as an asphyxiation-related fatality. Glum was arrested on Dec. 11, 2007, and charged with murder on Dec. 12, 2007.

Glum was found by a judge to be an “incapacitated person” in Nebraska in 2005. Her parents were appointed to be her guardians, and she has lived with her father in Bismarck since then. Her mother lives in Nebraska.

Sharon Knutson, a nurse consultant working for Purdon’s office, prepared an affidavit documenting Glum’s mental health problems. The affidavit indicates Glum has struggled with a litany of diagnoses, including depression, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizoaffective disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders.

Glum’s IQ tested at 75 when she was 18, which is considered in the borderline range, according to the affidavit. Her IQ tested at 86 when she was 26, which is in the low average range of intellectual functioning.

Bismarck Police Detective Scott Betz testified during the hearing about his interview with Glum while she was in the hospital following the child’s death. Betz said the coroner informed him and another detective that Glum may have some mental health issues after telling them her daughter’s death did not appear to have been a miscarriage. Glum told Betz she was on antidepressants and thyroid medication.

The interview with Glum included several breaks, and Betz said he asked her several questions to try to gauge her mental state. He said she did not answer inappropriately, given the situation.

Purdon questioned whether Betz had obtained enough information about Glum’s mental health early in the interview and about whether he had adequately addressed the issue of whether she was competent to be questioned with no one else present. He also said it appeared officers may have been coercive in their interrogation techniques with Glum.

Betz said he had no reason to believe Glum was under a guardianship and was surprised to learn about the situation the next day.

“I guess I was kind of shocked,” he said.

Purdon asked South Central District Judge Tom Schneider to first consider whether Glum could waive her Miranda rights. Without her parents’ signing off on it, the waiver she signed was “not a real and valid document,” Purdon argued. He said the next topic to consider was whether Glum’s agreement to talk to law enforcement was voluntary, knowing and intelligent.

Waiting until the last part of the interview to ask about Glum’s mental health was problematic, Purdon said.

“That is not acting in good faith,” he said. “That is not a reasonable way to approach this.”

Burleigh County Assistant State’s Attorney Cynthia Feland argued Betz had no reason to believe Glum was under a guardianship, as many of the warning flags Purdon pointed out, such as that she lived with her parents and had depression, are not unusual circumstances. She said the officers were not coercive during their interview with Glum and seemed to be pushing for her to be honest with them.

“It isn’t unduly harsh,” she said.

Feland also pointed out that Glum informed her parents during a phone call in the midst of the interview with Betz that she was speaking to a police officer. Her parents did not tell Glum to stop talking to him, she said.

Schneider said he would take the matter under advisement and issue a ruling later.

Glum, who attended the Tuesday suppression hearing, is free upon posting a $50,000 cash or surety bond. Her trial is slated for Aug. 7.

Purdon filed a notice in April 2008 that said Glum intends to use defenses of lack of criminal responsibility and lack of state of mind required for the alleged offense. The notice said Purdon plans to introduce evidence at trial from an examination by mental health professionals to support the defenses.

(Reach reporter Jenny Michael at 250-8225 or jenny.michael@;bismarcktribune.com.)

464 total views, no views today

Grassley Seeks More Info on Conflict of Interest Policies at Medical Schools

Grassley Seeks More Info on Conflict of Interest Policies at Medical Schools
Jump to Comments

June 25, 2009
by Evelyn Pringle

In a June 24, 2009 letter, Senator Chuck Grassley asked 23 medical schools for information about their policies for conflicts of interest and requirements for disclosure of financial relationships between faculty members and the pharmaceutical industry.

“I recently learned from an American Medical Student Association report, AMSA PharmFree Scorecard 2009, that your institution either had “no response” or “declined to submit policies” when asked to supply conflicts of interest policies,” he said in the letter.

Grassley asked the Universities to respond by no later than July 15, 2009.

Of the 149 schools asked, 126 provided information to the AMSA. The Scorecard 2009 was released on June 16, 2009. Thirty-five schools, or 23%, received an F. Seventeen got a D, 18 received a C, 36 were graded B, and only 9 schools received an A.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about financial relationships between doctors and drug companies,” Grassley said in a press release. “Disclosure of those ties would help to build confidence that there’s nothing to hide.”

“Requiring disclosure is a common sense reform based on the public dollars and public trust at stake in medical training, medical research and the practice of medicine,” he added.

Grassley has been working to achieve uniform and universal disclosure of the money that pharmaceutical, medical device and biologic companies give to physicians. He has conducted extensive oversight of financial relationships, especially among doctors who conduct research with the $24 billion awarded annually in federal grants by the National Institutes of Health, the press release explains.

Institutions receiving federal money dollars are required to track financial relationships, “but Grassley has found enforcement of those requirements often to be either lax or in violation,” it said.

“Beginning last summer,” Grassley wrote in the letter, “I began releasing information that made the point that universities are not managing their professors’ financial conflicts of interest and that change is needed at the NIH.” He listed a few examples as:

· Chairman of psychiatry at Emory failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from a pharmaceutical company while researching that same company’s drugs with an NIH grant. The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) is now investigating. [That would be Charles Nemeroff].

· Chairman of psychiatry at Stanford received an NIH grant to study a drug, while partially owning a company that was seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of that drug. He was later removed from the grant. [The name here is Alan Schatzberg].

· Three professors at Harvard failed to report almost a million dollars each in outside income while heading up several NIH grants. Harvard plans to release a report and is working to update their conflict of interest policies. [These professors are Joseph Biederman, Timothy Wilens, and Thomas Spencer].

· Host of a show that ran on the National Public Radio (NPR) satellite station received over a million dollars from pharmaceutical companies to give promotional talks. The show had received funding from the NIH and has been cancelled. [That would be Fredrick Goodwin]

· Chair of orthopedic surgery at the University of Wisconsin reported taking more than $20,000 from a company every year, for five years. The actual amount was around $19 million. The University of Wisconsin is revising its rules. [The name here is Thomas Zdeblick].

· Professor at the University of Texas received an NIH grant to study Paxil in kids, while also giving dozens of promotional talks on Paxil. This matter has been referred to Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. [This professor is Karen Wagner]

· Professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis who was formerly at Walter Reed Army Hospital failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars he had received from a device company to develop their products. [That would be Timothy Kuklo].

“To bring some greater transparency to this issue, Senator Kohl and I introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Act),” Grassley said in the letter the Universities. “This Act will require drug, medical device, and biologics companies to report publicly any payments that they make to doctors, within certain parameters.”

The latest addition to the Grassley list is Emory University’s Zachary Stowe, for not disclosing money he received from drug makers at the same time that he was conducting federally funded research on the use of antidepressants, such as Paxil, by pregnant and nursing mothers.

Stowe has been the primary investigator of an NIH grant since 2004 to study children delivered by women who may also be taking antidepressants. From 2003 to July of 2008, he was the primary investigator of another grant that looked at fetal exposure to medications consumed by pregnant mothers. In 2008, Stowe was the primary investigator of another NIH grant where the stated purpose was “to stimulate vigorous debate with the emphasis on the reproductive safety of antidepressant medications,” according to a June 2, 2009, letter from Grassley to Emory University.

In 2007 and 2008 alone, Stowe received about a quarter of a million dollars from Paxil-maker, GlaxoSmithKline, mostly for giving promotional talks, the letter shows.

Grassley was especially disturbed by an email between Glaxo employees and a public relations firm Glaxo hired, titled “For your review/Paxil Breast Milk Press Release” which states:

“[P]lease review the attached press release and forward me any comments/edits. As you may know, Dr. Stowe is on board for publicity efforts and NAME REDACTED and I are coordinating time to meet with him next week to arm him with the key messages for this announcement, which is slated for early February. We are sending the release for your review at the same time in efforts to secure distribution on Emory letterhead (as you know, would provide further credibility to data for the media).”

During a 2008 deposition in a birth defects lawsuit against Glaxo, Stowe confirmed that the press release was written by the PR firm and concerned his research on Paxil, and explained that placing the press release on Emory letterhead would make the data more credible to the public, as opposed to Glaxo letter head, Grassley said.

Stories on the internet show the Emory name was apparently used to add credibility to Paxil studies. For instance, citing a February 2, 2000, press release by Emory University School of Medicine, titled “New Study Shows Paxil Not Found in Breast-Fed Infants of Depressed Mothers,” on March 13, 2000, the StorkNet website featured an article with the headline: “Study Results Show Paxil Safe for Use by Breastfeeding Mothers With Depression.”

The story included the following paragraph with Emory specifically mentioned and Stowe’s comments:

“Due to the increased occurrence of mood and anxiety disorders during child-bearing years, it is imperative that we continue to research and make treatment options such as Paxil available for mothers who want the opportunity and benefit of breastfeeding their children,” said study leader Dr. Zachary N. Stowe, director of Emory University School of Medicine’s Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders Program.

“This study provides compelling data that Paxil is a viable treatment option for mothers who would like to continue breastfeeding.”

In the deposition, Stowe said he had been on Glaxo’s speaker’s bureau since 1999 and claimed that on top of his $232,000 Emory salary, he earned an additional 20 – 30% more doing work for drug companies.

On June 10, 2009, on the “Carlat Psychiatry Blog,” Dr Daniel Carlat noted that, “Stowe appears to have been deceptive during a recent deposition, when he claimed that on top of his $232,000 Emory salary, he earned an additional 20 – 30% more doing work for pharmaceutical companies.”

If he made $154,400 from GSK alone in 2007, “by my calculation this is already 66% more salary than he got from Emory,” Carlat said. “And Stowe did work for lots of other companies as well.”

Here is his disclosure from a Medscape CME gig he did in March 2007: “he has received grants for clinical research, grants for educational activities, and has served as an advisor or consultant to GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, and Pfizer. … he has served as an advisor or consultant for Bristol-Myers Squibb. … he has served on the speaker’s bureau for GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly.”

“Who knows how much money he was also getting from Wyeth, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly?” Carlat wrote. “He may very well have doubled his Emory salary, or more.”

“Furthermore,” he explained, “the $154,400 disclosed by GSK does not include all the cash they paid Stowe through laundered CME money.”

“For example, here is a CME program Stowe did for Medscape that was funded by GSK,” Carlat said, and wrote:

“The program is entitled “Long-term health risks of antiepileptic drugs in women” and is essentially a commercial for using Lamictal in pregnant women with bipolar disorder.”

“In it, Stowe begins by saying nasty things about Lamictal’s competitors, Depakote and Tegretol, and then minimizes a large study showing that Lamictal causes cleft palate.”

“I’m sure he got paid a lot for this, and that he did plenty of other similar CME programs that are scattered somewhere throughout the internet.”

“The bottom line is that Stowe has run into the same ethical problem as his boss Dr. Nemeroff-he was taking public NIH money to conduct research, while at the same time giving dozens of promotional talks for a company that stood to benefit from the results of that research,” Carlat pointed out.

On June 10, 2009, the Wall Street Journal health blog reported that, “Emory University has disciplined a prominent psychiatrist who was being paid by an antidepressant maker at the same time he was conducting federal research about the use of such drugs in pregnant women.”

The university said its medical school dean issued a letter of reprimand on April 30 to psychiatrist Zachary Stowe related to his “external relationships,” the WSJ wrote.

Emory has reprimanded Stowe, “who was instructed to immediately eliminate conflicts related to current federal grants,” the health blog noted.

Also, “the National Institute of Mental Health said it is reviewing Stowe’s activities, prompted by a letter from a U.S. Senate committee that said Stowe received $253,700 in 2007 and 2008 for “essentially promotional talks” for the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on June 11, 2009.

Grassley Seeks More Info on Conflict of Interest Policies at Medical Schools

418 total views, no views today

DEPRESSION MEDICATION WITHDRAWAL: Man Shoots/Kills Roomate

MY COMMENT: They need to give these expert witnesses these drugs and then pull them off throwing them into withdrawal. Then they will know what they are talking about when they testify as to the effects of withdrawal and what you are and are not capable of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ross pointed to discrepancies in the opinions of doctors who testified for the defense over what effect the drugs Grodio was taking for a knee injury and depression would have had on him.

“The drugs might make the defendant agitated. Another doctor said it would make him calm. If off the medication, he would have been irritable,” the prosecutor said. But “whether he is agitated is irrelevant under the law,” Ross added.
Forth did not dispute the fact that Grodio shot Tarlow, but argued the defendant was not completely responsible for his actions because of the powerful mix of prescription medication he was taking.

Forth pointed to testimony from a psychiatrist that it was not “appropriate for him (Grodio) to have that cocktail of drugs,” and that the combination of medications could have caused blackouts, hallucinations or a psychotic break.

“It is a defense for you to find Michael Grodio not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter,” he told the panel. He conceded that Grodio could have formed the intent to kill, but “it’s equally possible because of the drugs he was taking he did not have the intent to kill.”

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200906240300/NEWS0802/906240315

Man found guilty of shooting roommate to death

A man who shot his roommate in the back after the victim ordered him to do the dishes and turn down the air conditioner in the mobile home they shared was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder.

It took the six-man, six-woman jury less than two hours to come back with the verdict against 57-year-old Michael Grodio, who faces 50 years to life in state prison when sentenced on Sept. 11.

Grodio shot 56-year-old David Brian Tarlow on Sept. 9, 2007, in the trailer they had shared for about three months at a mobile home park on Langlois Road outside Desert Hot Springs.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Ross said outside court that “justice was served.”

“The facts spoke for themselves,” Ross said. “This wasn’t a who-done-it? This was a what-is-it? The jury told us what it was — first-degree murder.”

Deputy Public Defender Joe Forth said he plans to file a motion for a new trial, questioning the speed with which the jury returned its verdict.

“Because of all the expert testimony, we don’t believe they actually deliberated,” Forth said.

In his closing argument earlier Tuesday, Ross told the jury that Grodio shot his roommate because the victim annoyed him.

He also pointed to testimony from doctors who said that even if Grodio was on prescription medication or was going through withdrawals, “he would be able to form an intent” to kill.

Ross said Grodio went into his room to find the gun, then loaded it and placed eight additional bullets in his pocket, showing that he had the intent to kill Tarlow.

“You have to be able to think to do that,” he said.

Grodio showed Tarlow his gun after the victim ordered the defendant to wash his dishes and turn down the air conditioner, the prosecutor said. Tarlow was walking out of the room, with his back to Grodio, when he was shot.

“When he was the most exposed, that’s when the defendant shot the (victim),” the prosecutor said.

Ross pointed to discrepancies in the opinions of doctors who testified for the defense over what effect the drugs Grodio was taking for a knee injury and depression would have had on him.

“The drugs might make the defendant agitated. Another doctor said it would make him calm. If off the medication, he would have been irritable,” the prosecutor said. But “whether he is agitated is irrelevant under the law,” Ross added.

Forth did not dispute the fact that Grodio shot Tarlow, but argued the defendant was not completely responsible for his actions because of the powerful mix of prescription medication he was taking.

Forth pointed to testimony from a psychiatrist that it was not “appropriate for him (Grodio) to have that cocktail of drugs,” and that the combination of medications could have caused blackouts, hallucinations or a psychotic break.

“It is a defense for you to find Michael Grodio not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter,” he told the panel. He conceded that Grodio could have formed the intent to kill, but “it’s equally possible because of the drugs he was taking he did not have the intent to kill.”
“If you can draw two or more reasonable conclusions — one to innocence, one to guilty — you must pick the one that points to innocence,” Forth told the panel.

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200906240300/NEWS0802/906240315

384 total views, no views today

U.S. divorce dip excludes Utah

Ann Blake-Tracy’S COMMENT:
DIVORCE PILLS ARE EFFECTIVE!!! | 9:53 p.m. June 23, 2009

This article is years too late! In the early 90’s something happened that everyone should have noticed as Utah went over the national average in divorce just about seven years after the divorce pills were introduced to the market and Utah became the divorce pill capitol of the nation.

What am I calling the divorce pills? Antidepressants of course. These drugs may cause suicide, but they have killed more families than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

The largest LDS Singles group saw it as early as I did. In the mid 90’s they asked if I would lecture to their clients about antidepressants because they noticed that those who would come in and find a mate, then get divorced and come back to find another mate and cycle through that same way repeatedly were those taking antidepressants.

There are MANY reasons why these drugs produce this family and/or relationship altering effect: mania, impulsiveness, false accusations of abuse, cravings for alcohol and other drugs, inability to feel, argumentative behavior, change in personality, memory loss, etc.

Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/705312312/US-divorce-dip-excludes-Utah.html
U.S. divorce dip excludes Utah

By Michael R. McFall

Deseret News
Published: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:53 p.m. MDT

Troubled Utah families are still separating while the rest of the country on average is postponing divorce in a tough recession.

The number of divorce filings in the state kept steady at about 13,000 from 2006 to 2008, even as the economy tanked and the average number of divorces dropped around the country. As of May 31, there have been about 6,000 filed divorces this year. If the numbers remain steady until the end of the year, 2009 will be more of the same — despite what’s going on across the country.

Layoffs and a suffering housing market apparently have kept a rising number of America’s feuding couples together. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that nationally, 37 percent of attorneys said they saw a notable decline in their divorce cases in 2008.

But Utah saw a 1 percent increase the same year. Attorney Paul Mortenson said his firm of Hanks and Mortenson, which serves most of Utah, hasn’t seen any decrease in divorce cases so far this year.

Mortenson isn’t alone. Other Utah divorce attorneys, including David Dolowitz of Cohne Rappaport and Segal, haven’t seen any change in their clientele this year either.

“I’ve been wondering out loud (to my colleagues) why people who have financial issues aren’t more likely to stay together,” said Ellen Maycock of Kruse Landa Maycock and Ricks.

The answer might be in Utah’s relative financial success as a state. According to the results of the Associated Press’ Economic Stress Index, released last week, Utah is faring better than most of America, which may be why the state’s divorce rates remain closer to pre-recession years.

Holowitz theorized that if a couple isn’t as concerned about their finances and local economy, they may be more likely to go through with their divorce.

A divorce involving at least one child usually costs anywhere from $53,000 to $188,000 in attorney’s fees, financial advice and real estate costs for buying or renting separate homes, according to census data from the Web site Divorce360. Apparently, most Utahns can still afford to cut the knot.

But there are still a few hit by the recession who are looking for alternatives to ending their troubled marriage.

Shirley Pappin, owner of the Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah, said she’s seen a marked increase in her business. In 2005, the Utah Legislature passed a bill making one visit to a mediator a requirement for any couple seeking an official divorce.

Still, more people are turning to divorce mediation as an alternative to going through the courts because of the exorbitant costs of divorce and a desire for private control over their family’s separation, she said. The average mediation process costs $3,000 to $4,000.

Pappin suggests that mediation, because it puts a separated family’s future in their hands and not the court’s, is usually a better option for anyone considering divorce.

E-MAIL: mmcfall@desnews.com

523 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT: Council MD Had Bizarre Behavior: Still Wins 1 Million P…

Paragraph 4 reads: “Laird’s time at the Council was marked by a series of increasingly bitter disputes with councillors, staff and unions and she spent much of her tenure off sick with stress. Unions claimed she bullied staff and the Council leader told a colleague that her behaviour had the Council ‘at breaking point’.”

Paragraphs 8 through 10 read: “Laird, who was taking anti-depressant medicine, also declared that she had no ongoing medical condition which would affect her employment.”

“‘Medically, whether Mrs Laird had an ongoing medical condition is a difficult question,’ said the ruling. ‘She had a vulnerability to depression but not one that was manifesting itself at that time. The vulnerability was ongoing but not the depression’.”

“‘It is standard practice to go on taking anti-depressants for a considerable period after there has been a period of depression. It is not in itself indicative of any ongoing problem, said the judgment. ‘This was the or at least a correct answer’.”

http://www.out-law.com/page-10117

Council MD did not lie about health in £1m claim, says High Court
OUT-LAW News, 23/06/2009

The managing director of a local authority did not mislead her employer when she failed to tell them that she had suffered from depression, the High Court has ruled. She will not have to repay the nearly £1 million claimed from her by the council.

Christine Laird hit the headlines earlier this year when she was sued by her former employer Cheltenham Borough Council for nearly £1m in a claim that she had misled it in her job application. Laird was the managing director of the Council.

The High Court has said that she did not deliberately mislead the Council in answering a medical questionnaire, even though she made no mention of previous depressive episodes.

Laird’s time at the Council was marked by a series of increasingly bitter disputes with councillors, staff and unions and she spent much of her tenure off sick with stress. Unions claimed she bullied staff and the Council leader told a colleague that her behaviour had the Council “at breaking point”.

The High Court said that Laird did not directly lie, and that the questions asked by the Council were capable of being answered in different ways. Laird’s answers were not untruthful, it said.

The Council had asked ‘do you normally enjoy good health’, to which Laird had answered ‘yes’. “When depressed she did not enjoy good health. When not depressed, she did. But she was only depressed for limited periods prior to January 2002 and this was not her ‘normal’ state of health,” said the ruling. “A reasonable person in Mrs Laird’s position would regard herself as normally enjoying good health. This was the or at least a correct answer.”

Laird answered ‘no’ to the question ‘do you have a physical or mental impairment?’, which the Court also said was a correct answer. “She did not have an impairment in the technical sense – i.e. under the Mental Health Act or the [Disability Discrimination Act],” it said. “She had a vulnerability to episodes of depressive disorder but she did not have an ongoing depressive disorder…this was the or at least a correct answer.”

Laird, who was taking anti-depressant medicine, also declared that she had no ongoing medical condition which would affect her employment.

“Medically, whether Mrs Laird had an ongoing medical condition is a difficult question,” said the ruling. “She had a vulnerability to depression but not one that was manifesting itself at that time. The vulnerability was ongoing but not the depression.”

“It is standard practice to go on taking anti-depressants for a considerable period after there has been a period of depression. It is not in itself indicative of any ongoing problem,” said the judgment. “This was the or at least a correct answer.”

The Court found that regardless of her actual condition, Laird’s assessment of her health was honest. “For this purpose what matters is Mrs Laird’s understanding of her medical condition rather than her actual condition. Her understanding was that she had suffered attacks of anxiety and stress due to specific events, but not that she had suffered or was suffering from a depressive disorder,” said the ruling.

The Court said that Laird had not filled out the questionnaire fraudulently, nor had she wilfully withheld important information.

“Given the ambiguity of the questions asked and Mrs Laird’s reasonable understanding of her medical history, as I have found it to be, it was not negligent of her to answer the questions as she did,” said Mr Justice Hamblen in his ruling.

Laird had argued that the offer of a job was unconditional, and so the medical report was irrelevant. The Court rejected that and found that the job offer was conditional on her medical fitness, but that she had filled in the questionnaire honestly and without fraud or negligence, so the Council’s claim failed.

The Court found that if Laird had disclosed her medical history she probably would not have been offered the job, because she was offered it after winning a Council vote of just 18 votes to 17.

Simon Horsfield is an employment law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM. He said that the Council’s claim that it would not have employed Laird could lead it to fall foul of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

“Depression itself is capable of amounting to a disability. Had this woman disclosed her depression then it seems to me it wouldn’t automatically to have been open to the local authority to refuse to employ her just because she suffered from depression. That would have given rise to a disability discrimination claim,” he said.

“It seems to me that it’s going to be very difficult for the Council to turn round and say that they would not have entered into this contract just because this woman is depressed, and to do so I think they’re treading a very fine line between saying we would automatically have discriminated against this woman and not employed her,” he said.

The Court, though, said that in this case the facts meant that such a case would have been unlikely. It said that had Laird not been offered the job on the grounds of her past depression she would not have been able to make a claim for discrimination under the DDA because by her own evidence she was not disabled at the time of applying for the job.

“It was common ground that she was not ‘disabled’ at that time and therefore that there would have been no breach of duty,” the Court ruled.

See: The ruling

379 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT: Woman Cuts Baby From Belly of Mother

Paragraph three reads: “The woman accused of killing her, 27-year-old Korena Roberts, had a five-inch scratch on the left side of her neck and arm injuries.”

Last paragraph reads: “The documents say Roberts’ boyfriend told a detective that Roberts informed medical personnel that she had been on antidepressants since her last pregnancy. She has two children from previous relationships.”

http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=10579094

Associated Press – June 23, 2009 9:35 AM ET

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Court documents show that an Oregon woman whose unborn son was cut from her body died after a struggle with her killer.

A search warrant affidavit says 21-year-old Heather Snively had bite marks on the back of her elbow.

The woman accused of killing her, 27-year-old Korena Roberts, had a five-inch scratch on the left side of her neck and arm injuries.

The documents don’t say exactly how Snively was cut open. The baby didn’t survive.

The documents say Roberts’ boyfriend told a detective that Roberts informed medical personnel that she had been on antidepressants since her last pregnancy. She has two children from previous relationships.

384 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Woman Cuts Unborn Son From a Pregnant Mom: Oregon

Paragraph three reads: “The woman accused of killing her, 27-year-old Korena Roberts, had a five-inch scratch on the left side of her neck and arm injuries.”

Last paragraph reads: “The documents say Roberts’ boyfriend told a detective that Roberts informed medical personnel that she had been on antidepressants since her last pregnancy. She has two children from previous relationships.”

http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=10579094

Associated Press – June 23, 2009 9:35 AM ET

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Court documents show that an Oregon woman whose unborn son was cut from her body died after a struggle with her killer.

A search warrant affidavit says 21-year-old Heather Snively had bite marks on the back of her elbow.

The woman accused of killing her, 27-year-old Korena Roberts, had a five-inch scratch on the left side of her neck and arm injuries.

The documents don’t say exactly how Snively was cut open. The baby didn’t survive.

The documents say Roberts’ boyfriend told a detective that Roberts informed medical personnel that she had been on antidepressants since her last pregnancy. She has two children from previous relationships.

368 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Murder Attempt: England

Paragraph 11 reads: “Kiss had claimed that he could not remember the incident and was not criminally responsible for his actions due to the effects of prescribed sleeping tablets and anti-depressants he had been taking at the time as he struggled to come to terms with the fact his wife wanted a divorce.”

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/4447290.Crossways_husband_guilty_of_attempting_to_murder_wife/

Crossways husband guilty of attempting to murder wife
8:43am Friday 19th June 2009
By Harry Hogger »

WIFE-BEATER Joseph Kiss has been found guilty of attempted murder for a brutal attack which was likened to a ‘scene out of a horror movie’.

Kiss was found guilty of trying to kill his wife of over 20 years by striking her repeatedly with a bottle of sparkling wine while she was lying in bed at their home in Crossways on June 13 last year.

I have never seen injuries of that extent or severity before. I was distressed by her injuries. The bed and the wall were blood soaked to such an extent that I was forced to look away. I could only describe what I saw as a scene from a horror movie.
PC Nicholas Gravenor

The defendant remained passive as the jury revealed its verdict at Dorchester Crown Court and Judge Samuel Wiggs told him sentencing would be delayed while a psychiatric report on him was prepared, which could take several weeks.

Odd job man Kiss, 47, of Brewers Walk, Crossways, was remanded in custody and faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for the offence.

Following the verdict police praised the strength of mother-of-three Donna Kiss after her husband was convicted for the brutal attack.

Detective Chief Inspector Marcus Hester, from Weymouth CID, said after the trial: “The verdict was the correct verdict in the eyes of Mrs Kiss’s family and the court.

“I must pay tribute to the strength of Donna Kiss and her family in what has been a horrific year for them.

“In due course the court will deal with Mr Kiss as they see fit.”

DCI Hester added that Mrs Kiss was lucky to survive the attack, which left her with severe facial injuries including lacerations to her ear and face, a broken jaw, nose and eye socket and knocked out several teeth.

Kiss had claimed that he could not remember the incident and was not criminally responsible for his actions due to the effects of prescribed sleeping tablets and anti-depressants he had been taking at the time as he struggled to come to terms with the fact his wife wanted a divorce.

He said he remembered going to bed that evening and the next thing he recalled was hearing a dog barking and leaving his wife’s bedroom before realising he was covered in blood.

The prosecution case claimed the effects of the medication was just a convenient excuse, and Kiss had intended to kill his wife because he was angry about the impending break-up of their marriage.

DCI Hester said: “This was a sustained, pre-planned attack on a mother whilst she was asleep in her bed with the intention of killing her.

“It is fortuitous, I believe that on June 13 last year Donna Kiss didn’t lose her life.”

In a brief statement issued through DCI Hester after the trial, Mrs Kiss selflessly paid tribute to the jurors in the trial and Detective Sergeant Paul Auger, who was in charge of the investigation.

She said: “I am very grateful to the jury for the verdict and would like to personally thank DS Paul Auger for his excellent work over the past year.”

Police and paramedics who were first called to the scene of the attack have been commended for keeping their cool when faced with ‘a scene of horror’.

The ferocious nature of Kiss’s attack on his wife even left 999 service crews shocked.

Earlier in the trial, one police officer called out to the Kiss home in Crossways said the bedroom was like ‘a scene from a horror movie’ and a paramedic who treated Donna Kiss said it was one of the most horrific things she had witnessed in her career.

Jurors heard a statement from PC Nicholas Gravenor, who helped the ambulance crew escort Mrs Kiss to an ambulance and stayed at the property to investigate the crime scene.

He said: “I have never seen injuries of that extent or severity before. I was distressed by her injuries.”

He added: “The bed and the wall were blood soaked to such an extent that I was forced to look away. I could only describe what I saw as a scene from a horror movie.”

The jury also heard from paramedic Tamisa Hicks, who had been working in the ambulance service for 17 years, who treated Mrs Kiss at the scene.

She said: “I was led into the bedroom, the lights were on, and I saw one of the most horrific sights I have ever seen in my career.

“A lady who I now know to be Donna Kiss was sat up on the bed, covered from head to toe in blood.

“She was sat with congealed blood all around her head, there was blood on the walls and spatters of blood on the ceiling.”

DCI Marcus Hester praised all those who attended, as well as staff at Dorset County Hospital where Mrs Kiss was treated, for keeping their heads and carrying out their duties in the circumstances.

He said: “The officers attending the scene along with the paramedics faced a scene of horror but acted professionally and quickly along with casualty staff in saving Mrs Kiss’ life.

“I would like to thank all those involved in all agencies.”

Residents of Brewers Walk in Crossways said they were shocked to learn of Joseph Kiss’s vicious attack behind closed doors.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “Mrs Kiss is a lovely person.

“Everyone around here feels so sorry for her.

“After it happened I didn’t see her for a while. I’d always see her walking her labrador before that.”

Another neighbour remembers hearing voices and seeing paramedics come to Mrs Kiss’s rescue after she received life-threatening injuries.

Drinkers at the Tavern Social Club in Crossways remember seeing Kiss visit the club on Friday evenings to play pool.

A club committee member said: “He was very quiet and always kept himself to himself.

“He didn’t drink much.”

A club regular, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was stunned that Kiss was capable of committing the crime.

He added: “It’s against his nature. I never saw him with his wife.”

316 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Made Actor Worse: California

Paragraphs 7 & 8 read: “For awhile, he didn’t know what to do with his life, especially because a doctor put him on antidepressants that made things worse. Only in 2008 did he take a chance and quit the antidepressants and finally, apparently could see a light at the end of a dark tunnel.”

“Then came to his mind that, despite being blind, he could be an actor like he always wanted to be, especially considering that he actually lives right in the heart of Hollywood.”

http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/10834/1/

Blind Brazilian Actor Plays Keen-Sighted Title Character in Hollywood http://www.brazzilmag.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=10834 http://www.brazzilmag.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10834&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=1 http://www.brazzilmag.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=emailform&id=10834&itemid=1
Written by Heredy Bono
Monday, 22 June 2009
The longest running play in Hollywood is Eavesdropper. The ensemble is made up of 16 actors on stage to tell the story of a sex, drugs, and rock and roll-type party that ends with two people being killed. Every “eavesdropper” show has a different cast. So, it is never the same show twice. This is because, usually, at least three people rotate in each role.

Director Andy Libby estimates that at least 600 actors have been part of “the “Eavesdropper” cast in the past three years, with some of them continuously being part of the show during all seasons. Like Pedro Shanahan and Drue Delio, while others drop out of the cast after a few performances.

Presently meanwhile, “Eavesdropper” features a unique actor who happens to be totally blind and requires a white cane to walk around in real life. But on stage performs a sighted role, making the audience never wonder he ever has been blind.

Brazilian actor Gustavo Brasileiro leaves his cane in the dressing room and walks into the stage without any help. Gustavo joined the cast last February to perform the Eavesdropper, the title character , which requires to remain two hours in front of the audience without any break backstage.

Since he rotates that role with two other actors, he later took over another two roles so he could be present in all shows: the cowboy stripper and Quinton, a crazy gay man who talks with his dead boyfriend on the phone.

Gustavo Brasileiro started acting when he was a teenager in Brazil, but later got a degree in economics and became a banker. Later, he moved to Los Angeles as an investment advisor for S corporations. In 2005, after struggling for over 10 years to save his eyesight, Gustavo lost his vision permanently and went through difficult times to readjust to his situation.

For awhile, he didn’t know what to do with his life, especially because a doctor put him on antidepressants that made things worse. Only in 2008 did he take a chance and quit the antidepressants and finally, apparently could see a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Then came to his mind that, despite being blind, he could be an actor like he always wanted to be, especially considering that he actually lives right in the heart of Hollywood.

Late in 2008, he started attending Andy Libby’s acting class, and quickly got the attention of his teacher, who invited him to join the cast of Lysystrata, and later, Eavesdropper.

In interview with Brazzil magazine, Gustavo explains that even before he knew he would be blind someday, he used to think it was unfair that entertainment producers use sighted actors to perform blind people roles.

So, today, Gustavo believes that his mission might be a blind actor who acts like a sighted person in a way to empower disabled people. Following some highlights of our interview:

Brazzil – How do you feel sharing the stage with 15 sighted actors?

Gustavo – Actually, in the beginning, I had no idea how it would work out. I even considered to use an earwig to receive directions during the shows. But, Andy Libby said it would not be necessary. In fact, I gave a chance with a five-minute appearance last year on Lysistrata at Hollywood’s Complex Theater. And all casting members were extremely supportive and helpful. Then last February, a bigger challenge came up with an invitation to star in “Eavesdropper”. Again, my mobility on stage turned out to be impeccable, or according to some, maybe better than some sighted actors.

Brazzil – Do you want to be a movie star?

Gustavo – Actually, that would be great! I have started on stage because it’s the best way to prove that a blind actor who can do well in a live performance probably will have no issues in front of the camera. I believe my life experience, and especially the fact that I have been more focused and spiritual since I became totally blind, has made me much better actor than I was in my 20s back in Recife. On top of that, now, I can be a full-time actor. Since I have retired from my banking and investment advising careers, well – I hope.

Brazzil – A couple years ago, we reported that you had been a victim of assault and imprisonment and theft. What happened after that? Did the suspects get convicted?

Gustavo – Despite all my efforts, the Los Angeles District Attorney said it would be very difficult to investigate a crime whose weapons happened to be syringes filled with methamphetamines. However, the credit card companies and banks have been prosecuting them. For me, it was an experience that empowered a lot. After being able to get rid of a bunch of criminals with one of them jumping from my third floor window and breaking his ankles on the ground, I am only proud of myself and ashamed of Los Angeles’s Police Department. If they had done exactly what I told them to do, no suspects would be able to escape and our city would now be safer.

Brazzil – How do you see the ongoing recession?

Gustavo – I was suspecting the United States to go into a depression already in the middle of the Bush Administration. However, they were able to keep filling the market with cash originating from those crazy sub-prime mortgages. I have to tell you that a banker has to be very high on cocaine, methamphetamines, or psychiatric drugs to lend money the way they did. Wall Street and the big multinationals really now to manipulate the American Media class.

I’m glad Brazil, meanwhile, didn’t follow U.S.’s path, but rather took its own course. I remember when, in the 1990s they wanted to privatize my BANCO do Brasil. Thank God we didn’t let that happen! Brazil is getting out of the recession must faster than the U.S. because the Brazilian government has its own banks. Here in the U.S., the treasury provides over 1 trillion dollars to private banks, which do not take orders from the government, so they do whatever they want to do with our money.

Brazzil – What do you foresee for the U.S. economy?

Gustavo – I think Obama is doing the right thing: once the Chinese and the OPEC countries decided to hold our U.S. dollar, why not print more dollars to prevent a terrible depression? I expect the U.S. dollar to depreciate further until the point that the U.S. will become cheaper and more competitive, bring back many of those industries that moved abroad in the past few decades. Of course, the best of America is the ability to re-invent itself in a way that no one else can do. That is what, in my view guarantees U.S. leadership. During the George W. Bush era, there was less freedom and no incentives to do what Americans best can do: innovation.

Brazzil – So, for how long will you be in the show, and how can people gain attendance?

Gustavo – The Eavesdropper is L.A.s longest running play, and we will probably keep it going for many years to come. The producers are now making a feature film based on the same story, and I’m hoping to be cast for it.

525 total views, no views today