Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Politicizing Psychiatry

You remember Yale University forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee. She joined other psychiatrists in declaring President Trump to be mentally ill, and needing to be removed from office. 

Shakes of the Soviet Union, when psychiatry became an instrument of state repression of dissent.

Anyway, Dr. Lee has recently presumed to diagnose retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz as psychotic, because he has offered opinions that favored President Trump.

Many psychiatrists today consider psychosis to be a brain disease, requiring serious medical treatment. For a psychiatrist to bandy such a word about to advance political interests is grossly unethical. Some might even consider it slander or defamation of character.

Legal Insurrection blog has the story, via Maggie’s Farm:

It quotes Dershowitz’s response:

A Yale professor of forensic psychiatry has diagnosed guess who — yours truly — as suffering from “psychosis” for expressing legal views that happen to be on the Constitutional rights of President Donald Trump. Dr. Bandy Lee has never met me, never examined me, never seen my medical records, and never spoken to anyone close to me. Yet she is prepared to offer a diagnosis of “psychosis” which she attributes to my being one of President Trump’s “followers.” (I voted for Hillary Clinton and am a liberal Democrat.)

Indeed, Dr. Lee went even further, diagnosing “the severity and spread of ‘shared psychosis’ among just about all of Donald Trump’s followers.” Nor does she seem to be using these psychiatric terms as political metaphors, dangerous as that would be. She is literally claiming that we are mentally ill and our views should be considered symptoms of our illness, rather than as legitimate ideas.

Publicly offering “professional opinions” or diagnoses in the absence of a psychiatric examination, is a violation of psychiatric ethics and the rules of the American Psychiatric Association. According to that esteemed organization, “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to render a professional opinion to the media about a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the person…”

Naturally, Dershowitz was not going to take it lying down. He filed complaints with the deans of the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Lee acknowledges the fact and pretends that she is merely defending the truth:;

Alan Dershowitz has now taken his grievance to the deans of Yale Law School and Yale School of Medicine. Fortunately, I am less afraid of power than I am of truth. I have considered the costs; if he expects me to cower and to compromise, I will not.
— Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv (@BandyXLee1) January 11, 2020

Legal Insurrection asks the right question. Why is Yale continuing to employ her? And of course, why does she still have a medical license:

Lee’s use of her position for such obviously partisan purposes is not only unethical, it calls into question the judgement of Yale which continues to employ her.


UbuMaccabee said...

Dershowitz is suffering from psychosis: "I voted for Hillary Clinton and am a liberal Democrat."

That he is incapable of understanding what has become of both liberalism and his party over the past 20 or 30 years of overwhelming empirical evidence suggests that he has a mental illness. His blindness is inexcusable. I'm being serious. How can you defend and fund and vote for something that you know is trying to destroy everything you and everything you value and cherish? You cannot.

It's simple, Dershowitz is too afraid to walk away from the Democratic Party because his personal power structure has been interwoven with it for decades. He's about to discover where the power really resides.

Sam L. said...

I am not a doctor, and not a psychologist, but my take is that both of them are nuts.
As for Yale, it/them TOO.