Dear Dr Joseph Lasek, as a recent Alyssum guest, i loved your testimonial on the Alyssum website. Your compassionate writing painted an entirely different picture of the man who just a year ago signed an order refusing to release me, a woman who had not been able to speak aloud for days, (indeed i have a history of having been completely mute for months at a time) from 5- point restraints until i spoke out loud.

Yes, the nurse Annette Brennan wrote that order, and informed you not only that i could speak but that i “refused to” and so you, yourself told me in no uncertain terms, that i would remain in restraints until i obeyed your orders.Despite lying quietly and complying with the restraints, triggering an assessment every 15 minutes, your staff refused to ask me the necessary questions to remove even one restraint and left me alone in that room, time after time, motionless and mute, all because they and you had decided to force speech out of me.

Why? Did you believe you had the right to do this? What had i done to you to make you so angry with me? Why didn’t i have a right to communicate however i chose to or needed? I understand that you believed that i *obstinately* refused to speak to you…and you may continue to choose to hold that belief. I cannot change how you think and i refuse to defend my muteness in the face of your ignorant assumptions.

What i will assert is that the use of restraints has never been or should never be about the power you hold over one of your patients, and it should never be about your power to force a patient in restraints to do something you want her to do. In most parts of the world, and in most people’s minds, for you to force me, by means of physical coercion, to speak out loud would be called torture. What else is it?

What did it matter really why i did not speak? So what if i was obstinate, or unable to form words…neither reason matters a fig. Your only justification in keeping me restrained was if you knew or had determined by communicating with me that i was a danger to myself or others. But time and again, you did not even try to find that out, no.

You assumed things, yes, you assumed that if i kicked the nurse, whose groin inappropriately pressed against my bare feet, a sexual maneuver on her part, that i was aggressive. But you refused to ask me what happened or how i felt or what was going on. You used none of your apparently great capacity for empathy when it came to finding out from me what was going on and how to end the situation as quickly as possible (as you claimed was your desire).

If you really wanted me out of restraints asap, why did you refuse to let me communicate in any fashion except speech. You would not even phrase your sentences in such a fashion that i could answer them with a shake or nod of my head.

So this went on for hours, my frustration and anxiety growing since i was told you refused me even 1/2 mg of Ativan for sleep, for mercy sake. Finally nurse Manusukhani asked me the safety questions at 5:00 am and i answered them all, still mute, but satisfactorily. But the restraints were not removed. No, i was left alone for another hour. When the nurses returned they wanted me to write an essay with a safety plan with one hand, upping the humiliation and degradation till i could not take it any more. I simply shut down and refused.

You won, then. You broke me. I have suffered from that torture every day since that night, a year ago. i did not speak aloud that night, and the next shift took me out of the restraints even though it contravened your orders, because they understood it was an illegal order.

How did you feel about that, feel thwarted, angry? Probably, since you had not been able to successfully break me, break my back and force me to speak…sorry, sorry sorry,

The thing is, my speaking had nothing ever to do with you nor my refusal to speak, that was always only your interpretation. Alway only yours and the nurses interpretation. No one ever asked me why i did not speak, they just made assumptions and always they had negative connotations,,,

Why did they always think the worst about me? They knew nothing at all about me. Dr Malloy had never taken any history, and never talked to me, except to talk at me and dictate to me what he would do if i did not obey his orders. What did i do to deserve this? I had an advance directive before i came into VPCH. Did you ever see it before or during the time i was in restraints? It advises to never use restraints or seclusion as i will only get worse and be further traumatized, but it also provided multiple suggestions for what nursing staff can do instead of restraints or seclusion, none were tried in the minutes before Brennan brought that restraints bed into the room.

I think, from your Alyssum testimonial, that you are probably a very nice guy. I liked very much what you wrote there, and i think alyssum is a wonderful wonderful place. I will never go back to a hospital so long as alyssum, is available to me in any fashion. hospitals only and always torture me. People like you misunderstand and hate and torture me, and seem to get pleasure doing so. I do not understand why…

Now i have to tell you, if you have gotten this far, that i have filed a formal complaint against you with the board of medical practice. If i had been been permitted to speak with you and nurse Brennan and the others face to face and use non violent communication techniques to resolve what happened between us, maybe i would not have had to do so. But the psychologist Elliott Benay would not get people to talk with me, as i proposed and instead told me to do what i had to do.

So complaints were filed and the hospital has already been cited for violation of my rights. What will happen will happen. It wont be bad for you, as you can imagine, nothing bad ever happens to doctors, who always walk away from their misdeeds with a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle; their patients suffer the agonies of hell or iatrogenic illness,you know this or you ought to. I dunno what else to say, you are likely preparing a mental defense of yourself and your actions even as you read this, rather than seeing that perhaps i write the truth, and preparing an apology that might go a long way towards healing the suffering you caused me.

Do you think psychiatrists ever apologize for anything? No, i think it is something they cannot bring themselves to do, not to a patient, it would cost them too much pride and suffering, they would rather the patient suffered…

Nevertheless, I forgive you.

Sadly, forgiveness does not seem to heal or help my suffering, or not yet, possibly because i do not believe you will read this letter. Much less respond. Of course you will not respond, who am i but a stupid mental patient?

no, i will tell you who i am. I am a three-time author, one book of mine was a best selling memoir from St Martins Press for many years. I am also an artist and poet, who, if you will forgive me a tiny bit of pride, will one day be more famous than you ever will. Mark my words. *You* may never hear from me again personally, but someday you will see and hear my name often, just wait.

Sincerely, from the 63 year old woman you kept in 5-point restraints last November, because she could not speak.

Pamela Spiro Wagner


so i went to the commissioners hearing to appeal the APS unsubstantiated decision about Annette brennans part in the above, you can find my account of these events elsewhere in my blog if you do a search on VPFH…anyhow, she took umbrage at my asking her not to call me Pam but Miss Wagner, and rubberstamped the Aps results despite my lawyer arguing on my behalf and my presenting a half hour case…here is her decision, which says nothing about the hearing,

img_1534 img_1535


  1. Thank you, Florence. I appreciate your empathy and understanding. It has been difficult to accept and go on even though if you do a search of my blog on “open letters” or “restraints and seclusion ” you would quickly learn that what happened under Dr Joseph Lasek was not the worst at all… no, far worse things have happened to me in the name of treatment! I only complained because in Vermont there is the possibility of doing so. In Connecticut where I came from they never even had that potential so they could do whatever they wanted to to patients and no one Gave a damn.

    Thank you again for your comment .



  2. Am just tongue-tied, Sorry for what happened to you Pamela Wagner.. It is unfortunate that it happened..what Shakes my peace is the possibility of those behind the torture you underwent just getting away with it..The battle between MIGHT and RIGHT..unfortunately, Potency Speaketh won’t be so forever though,I still hope and look forward to that particular day when “RIGHT” will have a stronger voice or maybe accompany “Might” ..When impunity will be a thing of the Past.. Thank you for speaking it out..You are a strong Lady..
    Florence Wachira

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can never thank you enough for what you did that morning, Linda, my friend Though now of course I would want a different outcome, and for someone to call Alyssum the respite house and not any hospital or police But we did not know any better at the time, either of us, so we both thought it was best, And i went to Alternatives the time you called, and not to a hospital not immediately, so it was good then too, ThANK you,


  4. I remember when we were talking on the phone, Pam, several months before you were placed in that particular facility. You were agitated, you told me that voices were telling you to hurt yourself. I asked you not to hurt yourself, and you told me you already had. Then you suddenly became silent. The phone line was still open, but you were no longer talking.

    I was afraid for your well being, so I called the suicide hotline. I was told that I needed to call emergency services in your area, if I had reason to believe that you needed emergency help.

    I did not know where to call, so I called information for the city where you lived. I explained the situation and was given the number of the local police.

    A little while after I called the police, a police officer called me from your apartment. He assured me that you were alive, but he said you were injured and they were going to take you to an emergency room. Then he asked me if I knew why you were not speaking. He said you were writing your answers to their questions.

    I told him that this was normal for you, that you become mute from time to time. He seemed relieved to know that.

    If only I did not live more than 2,000 miles away! I would have gone to your apartment, I would have accompanied you to the hospital, I would have explained to those “expert professionals” that sometimes you are unable to speak.

    I am so sorry these things happened to you. I know how traumatizing it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Pam! Was your sister aware of what they were doing to you? That you couldn’t speak and they restrained you? Did you slamming doors and kicking a nurse say you were violent? What was their fucking excuse? Shame on your sister! Bastards! You are so kind to this doctor! And brave to forgive but don’t forget I don’t! They were killing my husband and I kicked a nurse. Ended up in a prison cell for the night. Not my fault. Bastards have the law on their side. Laws that need to be changed. Wish me luck with my attempts to sue. I wish you luck!


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