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The Law does not mean anything to Brazil’s Psychiatric Institutions & Therapists

The Law does not mean anything to Brazil’s Psychiatric Institutions & Therapists

Francisco’s Case

The Brazilian Law 10, 216 of 2001 clearly states and prohibits all Brazilian psychiatric institutions and asylums in the nation from any forms of bad practice, ill-treatment, and torture against people with behavior, mental health diagnosis, and all kinds of inhumane practice, according to the Law. However, the psychiatric clinics continue to, again and again, follow cruel rules. These include raping, torturing, killing, kidnapping, forcing people into institutions, beating the patients to death, and even starving them to death literally, and there has been very little accountability. 

Francisco’s death is evidence of these abuses, violence the lack of accountability for these kinds of crimes. Francisco Osvaldo, a patient at the Sao Francisco Neuropsychiatry Clinic, died three days after returning home with signs of aggression and abuse. 

Francisco Osvaldo Dias de Sousa was 38 years old an inventor, a strong, healthy man who lived with his mother in São José de Ribamar, in the metropolitan region of São Luis – MA. Francisco suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. He had been using controlled medication continuously for about 13 years. With the pandemic, he lived a healthy and everyday life, the Unified Health Service (SUS), which gave the inventor the medicine. 

The UHS suspended the medication supply.

According to information from family members, the employees claimed that the reason for Francisco Osvaldo not getting the medication that he needed to treated his condition was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And that the medicine did not reach the State Pharmacy of Specialized Medicines (FEME), to pass it on to patients. 

Mr. Francisco Osvaldo was working and an inventor that he even created a ( patent) brand for the automotive market. The family started to buy the drug that Francisco needed. However, due to the period, he was without treatment, which always guaranteed him the quality of life. Francisco started to have outbreaks of crisis. He had to be taken by medic emergency (SAMU) to Nina Rodrigues Hospital on 11/24/ 2020. 

The following day, 11/25, 2020, he was referred to the São Francisco Neuropsychiatry clinic, located in the Operária City neighborhood in São Luís. According to Francisco’s sister, Sidney de Dias, visits were initially allowed on Thursdays. However, when Francisco’s mother realized that he had signs of maltreatment, in his body like bruises, over his body the visits were suspended. From 12/31/2 the suspension continued on the grounds social isolation was needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On 03/05/2021, the mother tried at least one phone call in an attempt to speak with her son, but the social worker claimed that it was not possible to talk to him because he was troubled and agitated. Strangely, on March 10th, that is, five days later, he was delivered to the family, without prior notice, in the company of the same social worker who informed her that he was already well and with a guide for treatment at the CAPS”, says the sister. 

According to the family members’ reports, the young man’s health status was frightening: Forty kilos (40 kg) thinner, with marks of aggression on his body, bite, black eye, and total confusion. His health was already so fragile that he died three days after being delivered to his family. With evidence pointing out ill-treatment, torture, and total medical negligence, which would have led to the man’s death after a long pilgrimage to the hospital, he could not resist passing away.

To this day, there has been no public condemnation about the institution that has harmed and caused Francisco’s death.  

After Francisco’s passing family started researching and seeking the truth behind Francisco’s sudden death, they learned that he was not the only victim and was not an isolated case. Five years ago, a young man name Vitor Vinicius Sallys died at the age of 21 at the same clinic in very similar condition. Young Vitor Sally’s Mother found him dead inhumanely, with broken teeth, fractured arms, and ribs. 

We also know the other patients are currently suffering and are at risk of life and death because of the abuses.  The Law 10, 2016 of 2001 prohibited psychiatric clinics from applying any inhumane treatment of the old asylums continues disregarding the Law. 

Human Rights Coalition for Latin America, Mental Health and Social Justice

Human Rights Coalition for Latin America, Mental Health and Social Justice

Researcher, Gender Rights Advocate Human Rights activist. Behavior Mental Health worker. I am a natural leader with a thirst for knowledge and exploration of new ideas and challenges. I enjoy empowering others and building strong communities. As a female part of a minority group, I want to use the opportunities I have gained to give back to others. I am passionate about many aspects of human services including but not limited to mental health, gender-based violence prevention, and immigration services.
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