Piers Bolduc on You and Yours

 This letter was forwarded to the Asperger UK group today with permission of Cris Bolduc, mother of Piers Bolduc.  I urge anyone with access to BBC Radio 4 to listen to You and Yours tomorrow. Piers was misdiagnosed as mentally ill  and placed on powerful antipsychotic drugs. When he wounded a man while on medication he was sectioned and sent to Broadmoor, the top security prison for the criminally insane, which contains serial killers, mass murderers and sex offenders.  While there he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. The Daily Telegraph campaigned for his release and in 2004 he was transferred to the Hayes Unit, the only secure unit specifically run for people with Aspergers Syndrome.

BBC RADIO 4 ‘YOU & YOURS’ this Thursday, 13th September 2007 at 12.04 mid-day.If all goes according to plan the programme we have recorded with the
BBC, on various occassions and locations since May, will be aired
THIS Thursday 13th September on RADIO 4 ‘YOU & YOURS’ at 12.04. Its
all about lack of care/units for adults with Asperger Syndrome and hi-
lites our son Piers’ tragic case.
Apologies in advance if its re-scheduled for sometime the following
week but that is the way it goes in the media! As I write it is still
on course for this Thursday. Although a great deal of recordings were
made, after editing it will be cut down to size so don’t blink or go
and make a coffee or you might miss it! I just feel that ‘every
little helps’ (to borrow a phrase!) not only for us and Piers but
other families struggling within the minefields of flawed placements
and the postal code lottery of accessing support and services.
You should be able to ‘listen again’ by putting: You & Yours listen
again, into your computer’s Google search a few days after it is
Please excuse the Round Robin but it is the quickest way to alert

Here is the article that celebrated his release from Broadmoor 3 years ago.

Asperger’s man is released from Broadmoor

By Daniel Foggo

Last Updated: 7:40pm BST 07/08/2004

A man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome who was wrongly sent to Broadmoor after being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia has been released after a campaign by The Telegraph.

Piers Bolduc, 28, was put on powerful drugs which he did not need and held at the hospital for the criminally insane since he was 19, despite not suffering from mental illness or having any convictions. Asperger’s is a mild form of autism which is fundamentally unresponsive to drugs, because it is a condition and not an illness.

He was finally transferred last week to the Hayes Independent Hospital in Bristol, the only facility in Britain that caters specifically for people with Asperger’s. [continue to article]

Who knows how many other autistic people are being misdiagnosed and mistreated within our mental health system. And I know that for many mentally ill people the system is just as bad.

11 thoughts on “Piers Bolduc on You and Yours

  1. Yay for Piers!

    And thanks for the update Mike. I was disturbed to hear about his dilemma from the first time I had read about it. I seem to recall something similar happening to a young woman, though where I am not sure.

  2. I am very grateful to you for hilighting my son Piers case. The general public need to know what is really going on in the mental health system at secure and high units for those with Asperger Syndrome. For those who listened to the BBC RADIO 4 YOU & YOURS programme on Thurs 13th September, you will have heard that my son lasted 7 weeks at the Hayes unit and then returned to Broadmoor were he has been ever since….13 years in total. He was not prepared properly by Broadmoor for the move. They just don’t have the staff. Since his return to Broadmoor he was on a waiting list for TWO YEARS to be allocated a psychologist to help prepare him for the next move. When allocated one, the guy,a nice chap, but was on work experience from University and had never met anyone with Aspergers before! He returns to Uni in October….then what? As for trips out which have been scheduled since last November: not one has taken place. Again no staff to implement them. SO, the problem is twofold: 1. No preparation to cope beyond Broadmoor and 2. No suitable places exist to move on to. Wherever he eventually moves to, it will be a compromise. Rosie Winterton, when health Minister, gave Broadmoor £190 MILLION pounds to modernise. What was the first thing they did? Build another fence costing £10Million arond the hospital! I have suggested they allocate some of those millions in investing, longterm, for staff and training. You can listen again to the BBC RADIO 4 YOU & YOURS programme by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/items/02/2007_37_thu.shtml
    Thank you for your support. We have to keep up the pressure not just to help Piers but for all those in need of help, support and facilities.

  3. Such a tradjedy, we knew him as a youngster,who used to play with our boys, just a normal happy and highly intelligent kid.
    That such ignorance could have destroyed his life in this manner is incredible and totally unacceptable. Change must happen NOW!! Money and costs cannot be an obstacle to the improvements needed in our medical facilities system.
    Pressure is a must!

  4. Many of the issues Cris raises in her comments we encountered also at the Behavior Disorders Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital. I pleaded for 2 years for psychological support, and out of ground passes were rarely implemented (they required 3 escorts, it was difficult enough to get two!!) My son was diagnosed with Aspergers in Chicago years before our move to England and introduction to the UK mental health system. My son spent 4 years in psychiatric facilities in England, with one failed tribunal after another, the RMO’s opinion prevailing always and our second opinion experts marginalized and dismissed. The core problem in the UK is the attitude that people demonstrating aberrant behavior, whether ASD or mental illness, need to be segregated and institutionalized to protect the community. It is a fear-based system that engenders paranoia and deprives emotionally distressed individuals of their inherent right to live and contribute as best as they are able in the community. Until there is a paradigm shift, with the public and mental health professionals, the NHS will collapse as the newly diagnosed age out and demand new ways of caring and therapy. We hired an air ambulance and returned to Chicago 6 months ago. It’s going to take a long time to facilitate recovery for my son after 4 years in institutions, but at least he is back in the community enjoying trips out and visits with friends and family. The emphasis in the States has been on community integration for over a decade as most institutions have been closed (for financial reasons, of course!) It is far more cost efficient, and humane, to support people in friendly environments than slamming them in prisons (ALL secure unit hospitals are locked wards with double doors that require a member of staff to let you get a bit of sun or a cup of coffee). The NAS and autism groups/sites need to keep the pressure on media, and politicians, about the horrific abuse of power that is endemic in mental health. Us Warrior Moms need the public to be aware of the loss of our children’s futures, and if human compassion is in short supply, well then how about a cost analysis of how much the NHS could save by creating a new way of delivering mental health services? Wasting taxpayer funds always gets people riled up!

  5. I went to school with Piers, I’m glad he’s out. The sad state of affairs of the British system is highlighted by his case.

  6. Thank you all for your support. It was really nice to hear from Ben! I hope you and the family are well. Sadly, Piers is not out: he is very much incaserated in Broadmoor. The funding has been allocated and is available but there is no ideal place for him to move to: wherever he goes he will land up “a square peg in a round hole.” Units are either for learning disabilities or personality disorder of which he has neither: he has a high IQ.
    The Government needs to address the fact that Asperger Syndrome does not fit any of the existing categories of residential care. The re-vamped Mental Health bill is not going to help either so it all continues to be a horendous mess. A small light at the end of the tunnel is Lee Scott MP who is taking steps to meet with the Prime Minister and Health Minister to ask for a government strategy on Autism/Asperger Syndrome. If he does not get the desired outcome he will press to introduce a Private Members Bill. PMBs rarely become law but it will at least high light the problems and keep ‘autism’ in the frame. I have stressed to Lee the desperate situations that teens and adults face: we hear so much about children. But what happens when they grow up and reach 16/18 years old: everything the parents have fought so long and hard for falls away and parents are left to cope alone. I am constantly saying to anyone who will listen: “CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER SYNDROME BECOME ADULTS WITH ASPERGER SYNDROME.”
    If anyone would like to help, you could try writing to your MP at Westminster. If you are not sure who that is, you can ring the House of Commons on 0207 219 3000 and they will tell you. The address is: House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA. I am a firm believer in the fact that the changes have to come from the top. Without it, it is hard to expect local authorities/NHS Trusts to put money aside to fund services for a category of care that the Government are reluctant to acknowledge and therefore allocate extra funding for. The fact that statisticaly the figures are now 1 in 58 make the Government’s reluctance a national disgrace. As a consequence, my son and others like him languish in inappropriate placements. Our battles go on…..

  7. I would also like to add that it has been estimated that the cost over 15 years in total, keeping my son in a secure and high secure unit has topped £5 million. Value for money? I think not! They haven’t even helped him with his OCD side of Aspergers yet, taken him on trips out or begun to prepare him for moving on because they don’t have the staff, or expertise.
    If such incompetance was found in any other form of business they would be shut down. Why are the mental health facilities in the UK ,allowed to screw up so many lives not just the patients but their families too. We will never recover.

  8. Welcome back Cris,

    one minor correction – the 1 in 58 was an isolated figure. The current consensus is around 1 in a hundred. But this is a minor quibble. Overall you are correct and the questions you raise about effectic use of our money and public accountability go to the heart of the problem.

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