FDA Status of Banning Electric Shock Punishments – December 2019

There is only one location left in the entire United States which uses punishing electrical shocks to hurt autistic patients who are “misbehaving”. Just one. This is the JRE Center in Canton, Massachusetts. The JRE Center literally straps a backpack onto a patient. Any time the patient misbehaves in some way, a doctor pushes a button and that backpack ZAPS the patient for up to two seconds, to hurt them so much they stop doing whatever it was they were doing.

Every other center in the United States has found more humane ways of disciplining patients. The JRE Center is the only remaining location using electrical shocks, like cattle prods or Taser blasts.

The FDA had promised to ban these GED backpacks by the end of 2019. I wrote the FDA in December 2019 to ask for an update.

I received this response on December 17, 2019

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Dear Ms. Shea:

Thank you for contacting the Division of Industry and Consumer Education (DICE) at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) DICE@fda.hhs.gov e-mail account.

The FDA proposed a ban back in 2016 on electrical stimulation devices used for aggressive behaviors. You can find information on that proposal by going to https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-proposes-ban-electrical-stimulation-devices-intended-treat-self-injurious-or-aggressive-behavior

This is currently something that the FDA is working to finalize. Please continue to check our web site at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices in the near future for updated information.

I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely,

Postmarket and Consumer Branch

Division of Industry and Consumer Education
Office of Communication and Education

Center for Devices and Radiological Health

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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I plead with every person in the US to write the FDA at the indicated email address to ask them for a status update on this situation. The more we write, the more we make clear this is a top priority. We need to end the electrical punishments of autistic patients.

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