Josie Flett holds a picture of her son, who suffered a brain injury in 1974.
Josie Flett holds a picture of her son, who suffered a brain injury in 1974.

Mother fighting drug treatment

THE Tweed mother of a mentally ill man has spok-en out about the “horrendous side effects” of some drugs used to treat him, and her battle with the health system.

Josie Flett, of Tyalgum, said North Coast Health Service psychiatrists had refused to heed complaints from her son, Simeon, and herself about the effects of the drugs they favoured.

On top of that, her attempts to gain access to medical notes about her son – who received brain injuries in a car accident in 1974 – have been rejected, despite requests through freedom of information legislation, now known as the Government Information Public Access Act.

However, a health service spokeswoman has rejected the claims, saying the team treating Ms Flett’s son “carefully monitors the therapeutic effects of medication”.

Ms Flett said that with her son’s permission “and the knowledge that others are likewise suffering”, she had decided to speak out about the “ongoing dismissal of her son’s intolerance to psych drugs”.

He has at times been grossly overweight, vomiting daily and suffered from a skin condition as a result, she said.

“Simeon has been subjected to the most debilitating treatment regimes with no inclination to prescribe newer drugs which might improve his situation,” she said.

“It’s a case of shut up and take your medication.”

Ms Flett said nurses at the Tweed Valley Clinic were “without exception both friendly and helpful” but the system itself was allowing “mistreatment of patients in a cruel and controlling atmosphere”.

She said that time should be taken “to discover some more suitable anti-psychotic drug to trial under clinical supervision” rather than continuing with drugs that had horrendous side effects.

Health authorities were restricted by privacy laws from commenting directly about the case.

However a Northern NSW Local Health Network spokeswoman said the treating team at the Tweed Valley Clinic carefully monitored the therapeutic effects of medication for all admitted patients.

“The option of a second, independent opinion is always available and encouraged,” she said.



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