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Monday, November 28, 2011

Editorial: Ricky Wyatt

By Lawrence Downes

Ricky Wyatt
After Ricky Wyatt died, the circle that gathered around him to say goodbye was small. Just a clutch of people in a funeral chapel in Tuscaloosa, Ala., friends and family members and some of those who had traveled beside him on a long journey toward justice for the mentally ill and disabled.

The journey was Wyatt v. Stickney, the federal class-action lawsuit filed in 1970 against an Alabama state hospital and later expanded to other facilities. It was the first and most consequential of the legal challenges to the abuse and neglect that had doomed hundreds of thousands of patients to hellish lives in public psychiatric hospitals. It threw open the doors to treatment and to new homes in the community and, for the first time, established standards of adequate care and patients’ rights to receive it.

The whole editorial is here.

Another more detailed article on Ricky Wyatt is here.

A summary of Wyatt v. Stickney is here.