Friday, September 08, 2006

New Mexico - Recycling the old fallacy about Andrew Goldstein

The Albuquerque Tribune ran commentaries for and against Kendra's Law, the "for" argument authored by TAC executive director Mary Zdanowicz.

In the "con" commentary, the authors note in part:
The reported incidents of violence cited as justification for Kendra's Law, including the incident for which Kendra's Law was named, involved perpetrators who had repeatedly asked for help and were turned away. Our position is if there had been adequate resources, including stable housing, treatment and case management, these incidents would have not occurred.
This is one of those old fallacies that is recycled anew each time AOT is debated. If you look at the actual report on Andrew Goldstein (pseudonym David Dix), you will see that in the two years prior to pushing Kendra Webdale to her death in front of a New York City subway train, Goldstein received 199 days of inpatient and emergency room services, on 15 different occasions, in six different hospitals from 1997 to 1999. Four different clinics provided outpatient services in this time period.

This is hardly the profile of a patient who was refused services. In fact, it was Goldstein who often refused services. He consistently stopped taking his medication after discharge from a hospital unless he was closely monitored. When he wasn't taking medication, he exhibited hallucinations, delusions, and unprovoked acts of aggression. On some occasions, when his untreated symptoms deteriorated to the point where he suffered anxiety, insomnia, or other unpleasant conditions, he went to an emergency room seeking relief. Other times, he was brought to the emergency room following a violent outburst.

And in 1998 alone, the State of New York and the federal government expended $95,075 for his mental health and residential care.

So the oft quoted "fact" that he frequently asked for help but was turned away is untrue.

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