Schapelle Corby – A severely ill Australian betrayed by her Government

I sent this letter to Minister Bob Carr on 07/03/2013:

Dear Minister Carr,

I am a 55yr old Psychiatrist with 32yrs experience as a doctor. I am writing simply to implore you to examine the psychiatric opinion that Dr Jonathan Phillips, former President of the RANZCP, wrote after he had examined Schapelle Corby in jail on Bali. He was so concerned with her psychotic mental state and her grim prognosis that he advised repatriation to Australia as the only hope of avoiding permanent mental incapacity. We now know conclusively that chronic psychosis causes substantial and permanent brain damage, especially to the deeper, sub-cortical areas of the brain, where more subtle but vital cognitive skills have their origin. As seen in chronic Schizophrenia, sufferers of this sort of damage eventually become empty shells, their very essence lost forever. Minister Carr, I sense growing distress in the community regarding Ms Corby and the unwillingness of successive Australian Governments to urgently petition Indonesia to transfer her to hospital in Australia for intensive treatment and lengthy psychiatric rehabilitation. My reading of all the documents available to the public leads me to conclude that she is an innocent victim of the open drug portal that Australia’s airports have become under the universally failed policies of Prohibition but, none of that matters in comparison to the real humanitarian issue that exists in her case. I predict that without your urgent plea for compassion, this poor young woman will come home in 4 years looking a shrivelled shadow of her former self, a sight so pitiable that the image will be seared into the public’s memory as a shocking example of Government failure to protect Australian citizens overseas, even when they are severely mentally ill and undergoing nightmarish conditions from which they are unlikely to ever recover. Minister, you have only been in your position a short time and you are clearly not responsible for her plight but there is now no-one else to whom I can direct this medical plea. Another four years of incarceration in that hell-hole is likely to lead to Ms Corby requiring long term institutional or highly supervised community residential care and in the eyes of most Australians, makes her overall punishment grossly disproportionate, cruel and most definitely inhumane. In the name of the mentally ill everywhere, please save Ms Corby before the individual she was is totally consumed by her mental disease.

Yours Faithfully, Dr Jerome Gelb Consultant Psychiatrist (Qualified in Psychiatry 1989)


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