IDOM: Problem of abuses and ill-treatment in psychiatric institutions persists

The problem of abuses and ill-treatment in psychiatric institutions and the hostile and discriminatory attitude to institutionalized persons persist. These institutions do not have conceptual knowledge of what human dignity is and continue to apply inherited vicious practices, ascertained experts of the Moldova Institute for Human Rights (IDOM), who took over new cases following monitoring visits paid to psychiatric institutions to see how human rights are respected there.

In a news conference at IPN, Dumitru Russu, coordinator of the IODOM monitoring and reporting program, said they identified serious human rights violations at an institution, which he refused to name for the reason that the investigation goes on. These are related to the admission, placement against will, refusal to discharge, negligence of medical personnel, etc. A person was taken to the psychiatric hospital by a police officer and was placed in a closed-type section. This managed to run away after accepting to sweep the hospital’s yard. In a week, the police brought this again to the psychiatric hospital. He was told that if he signs a document, he will be able to go home, but he was actually lied to and was again taken to that section.

According to the expert, this time the “detention” of the person was more severe as the hospital’s personnel adopted a selective attitude to him following the first escape. The person was placed in a room with more rigorous surveillance, where the personnel tied his hands and legs and administered unknown preparations to him. The person tried again to run away through the window, but suffered a fracture and was ultimately caught and bought back by the personnel. Later, this was beaten, tied to the bed and insulted. Though on the day of the monitoring visit IDOM insisted that the person should be discharged, the request was rejected and was accepted the next day. A criminal case over inhuman and degrading treatment and deprivation of freedom was started in this case.

In another case that caught the attention of IDOM, the victim was placed in a small room intended for cases of quarantine. This was used by the institution’s personnel as a lock-up room for punishment. Dumitru Russu said the person was brought to this room by force and was caused bodily injuries. The nurse administered preparations to him against his will. The victim had evident traces of use of a syringe. In that room, the person received no bedclothes and no personal hygiene products. Later, this was transferred to a closed-type section. The IDOM considers such acts are inadmissible in relation to human dignity and these should not take place in a social residential institution. Consequently, following approaches, the prosecutor’s office ordered to take legal action over inhuman and degrading treatment. The investigation goes on.

Dumitru Russu also said that these institutions and society should switch over from the medical approach to the social approach in the case of these persons. The institutionalized persons should be informed about their rights and should be trained to report a problem when their rights are violated.

  • dumitru russu despre atributiile personalului din institutiile psihiatrice.mp3
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