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Court of Appeals allows the use of electric shocks

The FDA’s ban on devices used to administer electric shocks on people with developmental disabilities was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In a 2-1 ruling, the court said the FDA violated federal law by interfering with how healthcare professionals practice medicine. The FDA had argued that the devices provide an “unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.”

Currently, electrical stimulation devices are only to be used at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Mass., which serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and those with behavioral and emotional problems, according to Disability Scoop.

“The facility has faced criticism for years from disability advocates who argue that the skin shocks amount to torture. But backers of the center insist that the electric shocks offer a necessary option for people with severe behaviors who have exhausted other treatments,” Disability Scoop reported.

What do experts and the disability community in your area think about the possible use of these devices on people with developmental disabilities and behavior issues?

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By Susan LoTempio​, board member, National Center on Disability and Journalism

Contact @susanlotempio or via email at