A doctor accused of performing unauthorized research at a public psychiatric hospital recently resigned after being accused by stated officials of making a DVD in which patients were videotaped against their will and identified without permission as part of an unauthorized human research project.
According to the Austin American Statesman, the Department of State Health Services sent Dr. Allen Childs a “notice of possible disciplinary action,” alleging that he published research papers about North Texas State Hospital patients without the department’s approval and violated privacy rules when he appeared in a video featuring confidential footage of patients receiving cranial electrotherapy stimulation.”
Childs first came under fire last month for his studies at North Texas State Hospital on the effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation on patients with schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disabilities and other disorders. As per the Statesman, the treatment, which delivers a mild electrical current to the brain through a hand-held device, was used to try to calm violent psychiatric patients.
State Health Services, which oversees ten public psychiatric hospitals, had no problem use of the device on patients. According to state officials, Childs received approval for the treatment by both hospital and agency medical committees.
But in 2005 and 2007, Childs published articles in medical journals stating that patients who received the treatment became less aggressive. State officials said those studies using human subjects should have been, but were not, approved by the agency’s Institutional Review Board.
The disciplinary letter alleged that the treatment physically hurt one patient and that another was told she had to use the device. According to the Statesman, the letter stated that, “In at least one instance, you told a patient that she was required to leave the (cranial electrotherapy stimulation) device on for an hour. In another instance, when a patient complained that the CES treatment was hurting him, you acknowledged to your audience that you had turned the machine up too high.”