Of course, we all know how things worked out. Reagan was reelected in a landslide, no nuclear war resulted, and Caldicott’s 75-minute diagnosis was exposed as pure snake oil (humorously, these days Caldicott, who is still loopy as ever, has tried to retcon her 1983 diagnosis, claiming that she meant to say “Alzheimer’s,” not paranoid delusional. It’s good to know her grievous error still bugs her, 35 years later).
Bandy Lee is just Helen Caldicott with agonal respiration, a witch doctor with delusions of grandeur and no fidelity to the ethics of her profession. I reached out to Lee for comment, but the good doctor was too busy fielding softball questions from sympathetic journos to answer one or two hardball ones. Still, perhaps more alarming than Lee herself is the fact that so many of her colleagues are applauding her for defying the APA’s rules. They too think they’re “saving the world.” Hardly. All they’re doing is telling the world that they no longer believe a formal examination is necessary in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Some psychiatrists have apparently come to believe they’re psychic. Or wizards. In the name of anti-Trump fervor, they’ve tossed out the single most important part of the doctor-patient relationship: the doctor-patient relationship.
Because they’ve learned all they need to by watching TV.
And they call Trump crazy?
Postscript: I’d already finished this piece when a rather startling interview with Dr. Lee was posted on Vox.com by reporter Eliza Barclay. Rather than incorporate the new material into the finished essay, I decided I’d add it as a PS, to mirror my own surprise that a story I thought was bad enough managed to get much worse. In the interview, Lee calls for President Trump to be “contained” and “evaluated” against his will, claiming that “neither consent nor confidentiality” apply because it’s an “emergency.” She boasts that “many lawyer groups” have “volunteered to file for a court paper to ensure that the security staff will cooperate with us” (“us”? I think she means “me”). However, she’s concerned that such actions “will really look like a coup.” Which it would be. A coup lead by a two-bit flimflam artist with a God complex. I was so shocked by the interview, I contacted Barclay to make sure I wasn’t getting punked by fake news. Amazingly, the interview is real, and recorded. Dr. Bandy Lee is advocating the president’s forcible “containment” and psychiatric evaluation “without consent.”
Yet this charlatan is so ignorant of U.S. politics, she lists as “evidence” of Trump’s “mental illness” the fact that he’s given speeches “declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” Lee is apparently unaware that the past three presidents have done exactly the same. Lee thinks she’s qualified to have a U.S. president “contained” by force and evaluated without consent, yet she obviously doesn’t have even a child’s grasp of current events. If the APA refuses to sanction her, it will prove itself even more useless than many of us already consider it to be.