by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
Bret Bohn’s family wants the public to know that it is not just children who are being medically kidnapped, being used as medical research lab rats, forced to take drugs, and being kept isolated from their families. They say it happened to their son, too. He was 26 years old at the time.
What began simply enough ended up in an 8 month long nightmare. Bret’s mother Lorraine Phillips told Health Impact News that it was “medical torture” and a “horrific abuse of Government corruption and power.”
From a Simple Surgery to Being Incapacitated by Drug Side Effects
Bret, a native Alaskan and an avid hunter and outdoor sportsman, had surgery to remove some nasal polyps. As a result, he lost his sense of smell, reports Police State USA. Prednisone was prescribed to help him regain his sense of smell. Neither he nor his family realized that one of the powerful steroid’s side effects was insomnia, but he certainly felt the effects of it.
After a period of a week of no sleep, Bret’s parents took him to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where two more drugs were prescribed that were supposed to help calm him and help him sleep.
The Ambien and Ativan were not exactly the magic bullet that he had hoped for. Instead, Bret started having seizures, which his family later learned are listed as one of the side effects of the drugs. He went back to Providence Medical Center, only to see his health quickly deteriorate as he was given more drugs and experienced more seizures.
Despite many tests being run, the hospital staff was unable to reach a diagnosis of Bret’s medical problems. More and more medications were allegedly prescribed, yet the original problem remained – he still couldn’t sleep. There was one stretch of 24 days with no sleep.
In his weakened state, his parents assumed power of attorney, based on a written agreement with their son that was signed in 2007. Among Bret’s impressive list of achievements, he was a member of the National Honor Society as well as an Eagle Scout. He holds two degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He had the foresight to “be prepared” for any emergency in which he might become incapacitated.
Bret Becomes a Medical Prisoner, Unable to Escape
At one point, Bret became frustrated with all the medical treatments, and decided, as an adult, to leave the hospital. He unplugged from the machines, and removed his IV and catheter. His “escape attempt” was reported to the courts.
His parents began to question the course of medical treatment and requested that their son be weaned off of the medications. For a brief period, their request was honored, and Bret got some much-needed sleep, as reported previously by Health Impact News. It was short-lived. His parents requested a transfer to another facility for a second opinion. At this time, there was still no diagnosis for his deteriorating health.
It was not long after that, on October 23, 2013, that Providence Medical Center told Bret’s parents that they were restricting their visits with their son, ignoring Bret’s signed power of attorney to his parents.
As the visits with his family decreased, his medications were increasing. When Bret opposed some of the medications, including some that were psychotropic, he was viewed as “disgruntled” and “combative,” sure signs of mental illness. He was confined to the psych ward.
On November 5, 2013, Adult Protective Services filed for emergency guardianship over Bret, accusing his parents of not having his best interests in mind. Judge Erin Marston granted the motion on November 15, refusing to allow any family members to assume the role of his guardian. His previous escape attempt and his family’s attempt to wean him off the medications and find the actual cause of his symptoms were all seen as validation for the state to hold him against his will and remove his basic human rights, according to the family.
Heavily Drugged, and Treated Like a Criminal in State Custody
For a time, visitation was permitted by the state, but there were a number of conditions imposed, though no crime had been committed. According to a document on the Free Bret Bohn Facebook page, these restrictions included:
- No cell phones, no computers, no working phone in Bret’s room
- Only Chaplains from Providence hospital permitted. Bret could not have any visitation from his own pastor or ministers
- No outside sources of Lawyers
- No letters, cards, balloons, or flowers
- No Privacy. Visitation supervised
- Visitors not permitted to whisper, must speak clearly at all times
- Family forbidden to tell Bret that he was coming home some day
- At one point his family was told that only one hug was permitted, only upon arrival
- No body contact, unless approved by Providence
- Visits expected to be calm, social, and lighthearted in nature
- Any stress inducing behaviors, whether purposeful or unintentional, would result in an end to the visit
- Visits limited to one hour, then reduced to 30 minutes, then eliminated altogether
- Security to accompany visitors to and from the visitation area
The family reports that Bret was heavily medicated during all visits, ranging from the minimum of extremely dilated pupils to being medicated at times “to the point of inability to communicate freely.” His mother reports that he eventually was on at least 22 different drugs, including Resperidone and Haloperiodol, which are powerful anti-psychotic drugs.
After Christmas 2013, his family and friends were no longer permitted to visit at all. Though he was an adult, Bret was completely at the mercy of guardians he never agreed to. His 27th birthday came and went on January 12, with no visits from any loved ones permitted according to his family.
Forced Medical Research and Attempt to Escape
Because he was now a ward of the state, he could legally be entered into drug trials and medical research without his knowledge or consent. There was finally a diagnosis, Autoimmune Encephalitis. His family was told that he had irreversible brain damage, and needed treatment in Seattle. He was court-ordered to receive ECT – electroconvulsive therapy, or shock therapy to his brain, against his will.
In late March, Bret was transferred to Harborview Medical Center, a University of Washington facility, in Seattle. There, his parents report, psychiatrists wanted to transfer him to the psych ward. His parents were allowed to visit, and what they found was very disturbing. In an email to Health Impact News, his mother Lorraine describes the horrific situation:
“Bret was crying tears (no voice), spitting out their medications, and begging for his life.”
According to Lorraine, Bret had had enough, and he decided to leave. She and Bret walked out of the hospital in what they hoped was an escape to freedom, and answers.
Three days later the family were seeking a second opinion, when his mother was arrested, charged with kidnapping, and locked up in the King County Jail. Bret was forced back into the hospital.
Defying Alaskan Authorities to Gain Freedom
Lorraine was released without bail the next day, and a new team of doctors were assigned to Bret’s case. They chose not to follow the directions of the Providence hospital, instead doing their own evaluation. That was the beginning of the end of Bret Bohn’s nightmare.
On May 9, Bret was released to the care of his aunt and uncle in Boise. Despite the Alaska Office of Public Advocacy’s insistence that they were in control of Bret, and that he needed to be transferred to a nursing home, Bret himself phoned the Alaska courts on the very day of his discharge from Harborview, requesting Termination of Guardianship.
He began weaning off of all the medications that he had been forced to take, and his family and friends report that Bret is finally back to himself again. Despite adamant insistence by the Alaskan authorities, their suspicions that the drugs were actually causing the very problems that the hospitals needed to treat were confirmed.
On June 17, 2014, the nightmare ended and Bret’s freedom was returned as he received Termination of Guardianship.
Proving Doctors Wrong
Today, Bret Bohn’s life defies any accusation that he would be permanently incapacitated. The system that took his health and his freedom has been demonstrated to be wrong, as he is back to work in Alaska as a Bear Guard and Big Game Guide, living his life and loving his family.
According to the family’s Facebook page, Bret wants the public to know the facts of his story “so this kind of inhumane treatment is not ordered by law to others,” and “so this will not happen again!” They have pointed out that it was public advocacy and the tireless efforts of family, friends, compassionate lawyers, and supporters that made the difference in freeing Bret.
There are many others whose voices have not yet been heard, yet they face the same injustice. Many still believe this kind of thing “couldn’t happen in America.”
But it can, and it does. Bret’s family hope that their story can help expose the injustice and can help others who are being medically kidnapped by the government agencies, the very ones who insist they are working for the “best interest of the child, or the patient.”
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