Ex-Scientologist story #269, Medical neglect, Abuse in the RPF.

“The evil men do lives after them, . . .”

The story of Peta O’Brien is one that covers some of the usual subjects of Scientology abuse.  For starters we have the non-care of people who get sick in the Sea Org and need medical attention.  Not only will the Sea Borg not do anything to help an ill member, they actually blame that person for getting sick in the first place.  After all, why waste money, that should be going uplines to keep superiors off your back, on people who are clearly out ethics and most likely downstat ?  In Scientology sick Sea Org members get no sympathy; at best they are ignored; often they are held in contempt.   Not only was Peta in deep trouble with her health, but she was thrown into the RPF, the nasty penal system in the cult.
The following quotes are from the blog Infinite Complacency; this is a superior bit of writing that I can’t improve on so I will just cite some of it, the link to it follows.
Medical neglect in Scientology was so serious that staff members with cancer were left to die untreated at their post, according to one letter to Senator Xenophon.Some staff members with cancer worked untreated until they died while others too weak to do anything received no palliative care, a former Scientologist wrote in her letter to Senator Xenophon.Peta O’Brien’s allegations echo earlier accounts from other defectors from the movement’s Sea Organization cadre.Similar concerns were also expressed in an official Australian report published as far back as 1965.Scientologists are taught to consider Sea Org members as an elite; the movement’s most dedicated members.But despite what her recruiters had promised her, O’Brien soon learned that the movement would not pay for urgent medical care for her and her colleagues.

She gave several examples of how this worked in practice.

Two involved people refused the money for urgent dental work (her own son and a senior Scientology executive).[1]

But the third incident, drawn from her own experience, was far more serious.
She got the results of a smear test back that showed abnormal cells lining her cervix. This showed that she was at the C.I.N. 3 stage, the worst on a scale of three: while she did not necessarily have cancer, she nevertheless needed further treatment as soon as possible.

O’Brien knew she had two options. One was to have an immediate biopsy, with follow-ups every six months; the other was to have a hysterectomy, an operation in which her womb would be removed, which of course meant she would be unable to have any more children.

“I knew the CofS [Church of Scientology] methods of encouraging abortions so the thought of having any more children was unlikely,” she wrote.[2]

“I thought I had no choice, being a staff member of the CofS … to settle for the…hysterectomy.”

It was not just Scientology’s policy on having children that affected her decision; she made it clear that their failure to finance basic medical had also played a role.

“I also knew I would never be able to afford an operation every six months and certainly would not be assisted by the CofS financially or medically,” she wrote.

But she could not even afford the 5,000 dollars for the hysterectomy.

Two of her superiors made it clear they would not finance the intervention – they even advised her against having it, she wrote: “…they both disapproved of having any sort of having any sort of operation or surgery at all, to handle the cancer.”

She eventually came to an arrangement with the doctor by which she repaid the cost of the operation by doing an architectural rendering of his home (O’Brien is a trained architectural designer).

According to O’Brien, this was not the only time Scientology’s management ignored a serious, or potentially serious medical situation.

“There were three other CofS staff members diagnosed with Cancer when I was there… One continued to work at his desk until he died. There was no support or palliative care at the CofS, although there was a medical officer… not medically trained.

O’Brien said her final two years inside the Sea Org were spent on its Rehabilitation Project Force (RFP) a punishment programme for those members deemed to have failed to live up to the movement’s ethical standards.

The level of medical neglect there was if anything even worse, she wrote.

“On the RPF I was concerned about a bedridden elderly staff member who had cancer, who had seeping open chest wounds that needed to be cleaned and bandages change daily.

“Somehow I made time to do this for her, and even put up some curtains and cleaned her room.”

O’Brien was put on an even tougher programme as punishment for having put up curtains in the women’s dormitory: this was considered “idle” behaviour. She heard later that her bedridden colleague had died.

Scientology’s dark secrets
The Age
November 21, 2009  
Here is a link to this story which mentions Peta and others. 

Update 2/15/12  Here is Peta giving her insights on the RPF.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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