From Iceland — Death At Hospital Mental Health Ward Being Investigated As Criminal Act

Death At Hospital Mental Health Ward Being Investigated As Criminal Act

Published August 30, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A patient at the mental health ward of Landspítali hospital died on August 16th, and police believe the death may have a criminal element, Vísir reports. A nurse has been remanded to custody pending investigation.

The nurse in question was attempting to force the patient to eat, which led to the patient choking to death.

Málfríður Hrund Einarsdóttir, the director of Mindpower, an NGO focused on mental health care in Iceland, told Stöð 2 news that the death did not come as a surprise to her.

She contends that the general policy within the public system is built upon, amongst other things, the idea that compulsion is permissible.

“Whether it’s taking medication, admissions, or whatever, even punishments, and it increases human suffering and it is not working,” she said. She believes that using force against the will of patients is used far too often, with this recent death being a result of this policy.

“A change in outlook is needed,” she said. “Not an outlook which is based on [compulsion] and pathologises emotions, pathologises suffering. It takes time to change the system and it takes courage to do so.”

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