The Des Moines Register published an incredibly disturbing story recently about Alex Jacobsen, a young man who struggles with mental illness.
The 26-year-old agreed earlier this year to enter the Spencer Dream Center, a faith-based treatment clinic founded by two Assembly of God pastors. But one of the requirements for being accepted there was that patients had to give up all of their mood-altering drugs, including ones helping them deal with their illnesses.
The immediate withdrawal took its toll on Alex in the worst possible way:
On Jan. 15, just 10 days after Jacobsen entered the program, Hanges found him in a large pool of blood in a bathroom next to the men’s dorm.
[Rev. Nick] Hanges pressed a towel firmly to Jacobsen’s neck with one hand and dialed 911 with the other. Jacobsen’s trachea was severed. He was taken by air ambulance to a Sioux Falls hospital.
Alex Jacobsen says now he believes his suicide attempt was prompted by the abrupt withdrawal from drugs he was taking.
Medical professionals who treated Jacobsen told the family he could have died from suddenly quitting benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, often used to treat seizures or panic disorders.
While the Center has since changed its policies to require patients to be off of the drugs for a full year before entering the program, the bigger issue is that unqualified people were overseeing treatment of patients with very serious problems. For them, belief in God was an acceptable substitute for a medical degree.
Why on earth would the state of Iowa allow them to run a place like this?
Alex’s parents also want to know “how a program claiming to provide drug treatment could be exempt from an Iowa law that requires licensing of such facilities.”
We often think of these “faith-healers” as irresponsible, but it’s so much worse than that. This isn’t the first time Christians have had blood on their hands because they spurned evidence-based treatment for religion. And without better legislation punishing those who cause harm to others regardless of their religious convictions, this will only continue.
Be sure to read the full story by Lee Rood right here.
(Image via The Des Moines Register)