Thursday, October 26, 2006

Another Scientology-induced Tragedy

On March 13, 2003, Jeremy Perkins killed his mother Elli while in a delusional psychosis brought on by his paranoid schizophrenia. Elli was aware of her son's condition but as a Scientologist, she refused to expose him to modern psychiatry. Instead, she chose to treat his severe mental illness with vitamins. She died after being stabbed more than 70 times. Here's the news story.

Every time I see someone refusing reasonable medical care due to a misguided religious zealotry, it makes me so angry. This stupid woman didn't deserve to die for her ignorance and more significantly, her desperately ill child deserved access to treatment that may have helped resolve his psychosis. Instead, this man has to live with the fact that he killed his own mother not because he's some kind of sadistic sociopath but because his stupid parents refused to get him the treatment that he required because of a patently ridiculous religious belief. Unacceptable.

I may hem and haw about the indelicacy of psychiatric medication, but fact is that for those suffering the most acute forms of mental illness, medicine is not simply an option. It's the only option. Psychosis will not resolve with Vitamin B and any person not in touch with reality is a danger to themselves and others.

It makes me so angry that such horrible preventable tragedies occur when there are viable alternatives. A hundred years ago, there was nothing that could be done for someone like Jeremy Perkins. But today? Help was available. An end to his suffering was within the reach of medical science.

I suppose you can lead people to progress but you can't make them think.