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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  May 13, 2018 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> there is tremendous controversy about a surgical device implanted in more than two million american women. it's a strip of plastic called gynecological mesh. the manufacturers and several medical societies say the implant is safe, but more than 100,000 women are suing. >> i would say the material they're buying maybe is fine for making a park bench. maybe it's fine for making a disposable cup. but that's a totally different situation when you're looking at something that will be in the body for 40 or 50 or 60 years. ( ticking ) ( children playing ) >> more than one million american children now live with grandparents, primarily because of their parents' addiction to opioids and other drugs.
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grandparents are putting off retirement and plowing through savings to rescue their grandchildren from dangerous situations. >> we can't not do it. they're our grandkids. they're our family. ( ticking ) >> just tell us your full name and date of birth, please. >> katherine "kitty" dukakis. >> for the past 20 years, kitty dukakis has undergone electroconvulsive therapy, or e.c.t. >> we're good to go. >> dukakis was sedated, and electricity was administered to her brain for a few seconds. the seizure lasted about a minute. the only sign of it was some slight trembling in her feet. you're okay with the treatment we filmed, being broadcast? >> yeah, i am. i'm convinced that-- that if i can be that public, that it will help others. ( ticking ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm scott pelley. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm bill whitaker. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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>> pelley: there is tremendous controversy about a surgical device implanted in more than two million american women. it's a strip of plastic called gynecological mesh.
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the manufacturers and several medical societies say the implant is safe, but more than 100,000 women are suing, and together, they make up the largest multi-district litigation since asbestos. one of the largest manufacturers of gynocological mesh is boston scientific, a medical device maker with $9 billion in sales. millions of patients benefit from its pacemakers, stents and other devices. but boston scientific has attracted 48,000 lawsuits, which claim that its mesh can inflict life-altering pain and injury. surgeons use boston scientific's gynecological mesh like a sling to relieve urinary incontinence and to lift organs that shift after pregnancy. gwyn madsen had a boston scientific implant in 2012. >> gwyn madsen: it felt like a cheese grater inside of me. >> pelley: like thousands of
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others who have filed suit, she says she suffered pain, which in her case left her hardly able to sit or play with her children. >> madsen: it felt like the material was pulling on the muscles, and i'd get shooting pains. you almost felt like there was something inside of you that was like sandpaper, back and forth, every time you'd walk. >> pelley: boston scientific has fought allegations like gwyn madsen's for years. they declined an interview for our story, but the company told us, "nearly one million women have been successfully treated. we have extensively tested the plastic resin to confirm its composition, safety and performance." the american urogynecological society has also said that plastic mesh is "safe and effective." but, that's not what many doctors are finding. >> dr. michael margolis: the mesh causes a chronic inflammatory reaction. >> pelley: dr. michael margolis is a surgeon who has removed 350 mesh implants.
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he's been a witness in lawsuits against boston scientific. >> margolis: the slings i've removed are substantially altered in their architecture. they are shrunk by at least 50% in width; they are encased in scar tissue. the pores here, these openings here, are shrunk substantially. >> pelley: dr. margolis recently removed this type of boston scientific mesh. it had been implanted in his patient for life, but after two years, it looked like this. >> margolis: it was folded, it was contracted, it was embedded in scar tissue, it was choking off the urethra. it was 50% the size of its original implant. i measured it, as i always do. >> pelley: these are things that are not supposed to happen? >> margolis: of course not. this implant is not supposed to change. >> pelley: the mesh is made of a plastic called polypropylene-- a common material in packaging. boston scientific had clearance
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from the f.d.a. to use a brand of polypropylene called "marlex," made in texas by a subsidiary of chevron phillips. but in 2004, chevron phillips became concerned about medical use of marlex. it issued a warning that it must not be used for "permanent implantation in the human body." duane priddy is a leading plastics engineer, and a fellow of the american chemical society. >> duane priddy: i can't, in my wildest imagination, imagine anybody that's knowledgeable in the science of plastics ever deciding that it was appropriate to use polypropylene in the human body. it's well known that it's oxidatively unstable. >> pelley: duane priddy has been a witness in mesh lawsuits, but he is not part of any litigation against boston scientific. he explained to us that oxygen breaks up polypropylene. the plastic has anti-oxidant additives, but they dissipate
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over time. >> priddy: once those antioxidants are consumed, they're no longer there to do their job. polypropylene will rapidly disintegrate and fall apart. >> pelley: in layman's terms, oxygen eats plastic. >> priddy: that's correct. >> pelley: in 2005, chevron phillips cut off boston scientific's supply of marlex. later, when boston scientific appealed, chevron phillips replied, "we are simply not interested in this business at any price." boston scientific estimated that it would run out of marlex by 2012. george vialle, director of global supply chain, wrote, this plastic resin "supports a $120 million in annual revenue. i can not overstate the importance of getting more." boston scientific had to have chevron phillips marlex, because that plastic was already accepted by the f.d.a. >> chris dearmitt: they looked everywhere.
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they looked at least 20 different companies, all around the world. they were looking for stocks of material. >> pelley: chris dearmitt is a plastics engineer who researched boston scientific for one of the women suing the company. >> dearmitt: they really struggled. there was a big panic on because they had a big stockpile, they ran out, and they realized they were going to have to source more. >> pelley: that struggle is revealed in company documents that we found in court records. this report shows, in 2010, a second supplier refused to sell polypropylene "for use in medical device." boston scientific's global sourcing division decided to use a middleman with "no direct link to boston scientific," so the plastic makers wouldn't know the true buyer, but that plan failed. >> dearmitt: they're looking for material, and they're desperate. they can't find it locally, so they find it in china. and they literally say, "we have to be careful here. some of these look more credible than other ones." they are not convinced that it's real material. >> pelley: a broker in china, called emai, said that it had tons of marlex imported from
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chevron phillips in texas. boston scientific's man in china wrote his superiors, "do we need to ask emai if this material is supposed to be used in medical implantable?" boston scientific's director of materials management replied, "please don't tell them where we will use it. it could scare them away." that same month, the f.d.a. issued a damning report. over five years, the f.d.a. found that mesh supporting organs after pregnancy had resulted in nearly 4,000 "reports of injury, death, and malfunction" and complications including "pain, infection, urinary problems, bleeding and organ perforation. serious adverse events," the f.d.a. said, "are not rare." now, boston scientific had even more reason to believe that if it switched plastics, the f.d.a. would require years of tests, which might fail.
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the company's best hope appeared to be the plastic in china. but then came the red flags. boston scientific's own procedures required documents and import records that proved that the plastic was marlex from texas, but chinese broker emai didn't have any documents to verify authenticity. boston scientific checked the lot numbers on the bags, and confirmed through chevron phillips, three times, that the numbers were fraudulent. even the bags were fake. chevron phillips says the printing on the counterfeit bag, on the right, is full of errors, from the color to the name of the texas city where marlex was made. evidence was mounting that the plastic in china was counterfeit, so boston scientific ordered tests to compare it with original marlex. >> dearmitt: they analyzed 11 different parameters, looking at the two plastics side by side, done in the same tests. nine of those were different. two were the same, nine were
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different. and of those nine that were different, four of those parameters were very different. and somehow, from that, they concluded that it was the same material. >> pelley: how did they come to that conclusion? >> dearmitt: well, i'm wondering that too. i mean, how can you look at two things side by side and say, "yes, it's the same stuff"? >> pelley: in an email from the address of ann charest, manager for plastics in boston scientific's global sourcing division, there's speculation about the chinese plastic's lack of documents: "it may not have been imported through proper channels," or it may have been "redistributed enough times, the original paperwork has been lost/forgotten." facing a deadline, with those test results, no documents and having learned the lot numbers were fake, charest concludes, "i believe this is the right material." boston scientific bought enough of the chinese plastic to last 30 years. we hired plastics engineer duane priddy as an independent consultant to analyze boston
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scientific's own tests of the chinese plastic. we found the test results in court documents. >> priddy: i would predict a significant difference in the antioxidant stability, or i should say, the oxidation resistance of those products in the human body. >> pelley: the chinese product is inferior? >> priddy: absolutely, yes. >> pelley: is the chinese product something that you would imagine being placed inside the human body for 20, 30, 40 years? >> priddy: absolutely not. >> pelley: how long would it likely last? >> priddy: a few months. >> teresa stevens: i started to have problems right away. i told the doctor while i was in the hospital, i couldn't feel my bladder, i couldn't feel when i had to go. >> pelley: teresa stevens had a boston scientific mesh implant in 2014, after the company began using the chinese plastic. >> stevens: sometimes when i went to the doctor, i would have an infection, sometimes when i went, i didn't. so, but i was having pain every time i would void.
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so, a lot of times i would have some blood. so, i knew something was wrong. >> pelley: in 2016, she had her mesh implant removed by dr. michael margolis, who told us the chinese plastic's lack of documents is a concern. >> margolis: this is an experimental material. implantation of this into anyone is human experimentation, but without consent. because this is novel material. we don't know how this affects humans. it's never been tested before. >> dearmitt: i would say the material they're buying maybe is fine for making a park bench. maybe it's fine for making a disposable cup. but that's a totally different situation when you're looking at something that will be in the body for 40 or 50 or 60 years. there's a whole different level of analysis and confidence that you need. and i don't see that here. >> pelley: the f.d.a. requires boston scientific and companies like it to understand every step in the supply chain. in other words, who made the
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material, who packaged it, who shipped it, et cetera. how much did boston scientific understand about that supply chain? >> dearmitt: they don't seem to know where the material is coming from. nobody knows who the original manufacturer is. nobody knows, and that's a big deal, right? you have to take a record of every lot: was it contaminated? has it been tested? and they don't know any of those, any of those answers. >> pelley: boston scientific also faced hurdles in getting the 16 tons of plastic out of china. the counterfeit bags were labeled "texas," but with no import records, boston scientific's man in china wrote, "if we don't get rid of the original bags, if it is caught by customs, we will be in trouble." a plan to hide the bags in plain wrappers was approved in an email sent from the address of charles smith, a director in boston scientific's urology and women's health division. "we can over-bag," the email reads.
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pictures of the over-bagging operation were then distributed to many company executives for their approval. on its declarations, boston scientific told the chinese the plastic was made in china. it told u.s. customs the plastic was made in the u.s. because of lawsuits by teresa stevens, gwyn madsen, and thousands of others, the f.d.a. looked into boston scientific's experience with the chinese plastic. the f.d.a. declined an interview but wrote, "we did not find any indication that the change in plastic resin led to an increase in adverse events. we have confidence in our findings." the f.d.a. recently reviewed these same test results, and they said that the chinese mesh, "does not raise new safety or effectiveness concerns." what do you make of that? >> priddy: that's shocking. it's hard for me to imagine
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somebody looking at that data and generating an opinion that it is acceptable for use in the human body. >> pelley: is your analysis something that any other expert in plastics would see immediately? >> priddy: yes. >> pelley: this is not a close call? >> priddy: no. >> pelley: as we said, boston scientific declined an interview, but it wrote, "any allegations continuing to question the integrity or legitimacy of our plastic resin are false and irresponsible." we wondered whether boston scientific mesh products still contain the chinese polypropylene smuggled into the united states, so we purchased 15 boston scientific mesh kits and sent them to a leading plastics lab. all of them matched the chinese plastic.
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>> whitaker: the growing opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency. it's sparked a parallel crisis you rarely hear about: the impact on children neglected by addicted parents. more than one million american children now live with grandparents, primarily because of their parent's addiction to opioids and other drugs: heroin, crack, meth and alcohol. grandparents are putting off retirement and plowing through savings to rescue their grandchildren from dangerous situations. to see how widespread this is, we went to one of the healthiest states in the country, utah. tonight, we'll introduce you to a few families around salt lake city, and meet children raised in the wreckage of the opioid crisis, getting a chance at a normal life. ( laughter ) nine-year-old cheyenne nunn and her seven-year-old sister, lilah, have never been happier. until recently, they lived with
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their mom and her boyfriend-- the couple, addicted to heroin, or meth, or both, says the girls' grandmother, cheryl nunn. to see cheyenne and lilah now, secure in their grandmother's home outside salt lake city, it's hard to believe they once moved from home to home, to homeless. you remember being homeless? >> cheyenne nunn: a little. >> whitaker: where would you go? >> cheyenne nunn: under trees. >> whitaker: like camping? >> cheyenne nunn: yeah. >> whitaker: the times they did have a roof over their heads, they didn't have much else. did you have enough food? >> cheyenne nunn: sometimes, but not always. i hid it under my bed. >> whitaker: what would you hide? >> cheyenne nunn: top ramen. something easy to cook. >> whitaker: how old were you? >> cheyenne nunn: five, six. >> whitaker: how did you know to step up and take care of your little sister, and cook? >> cheyenne nunn: i knew that she needed it.
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so i decided to be what-- something i'm not. >> whitaker: which is? >> cheyenne nunn: a grown-up. >> whitaker: you decided to be a grown-up? >> cheyenne nunn: yeah, i tried to be a grown-up for lilah. >> whitaker: because of her daughter's drug addictions, cheryl told us she knew her granddaughters were in danger. to keep track of them, and to prove in court her daughter was exposing them to drug dens and dealers, cheryl gave her daughter a van, with a hidden tracking device. >> cheryl nunn: it would record on excel spreadsheets, her going from meth house to meth house to meth house. >> whitaker: cheryl said her granddaughters were in that van. she knew she had to save them from her own daughter. >> cheryl nunn: well, the grandchildren are young and innocent. they are basically captives of a parent. someone has to look out after them, and that person had to be me. >> whitaker: after providing
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tracking records of her daughter's drug-filled nights, a judge named cheryl guardian of cheyenne and lilah. can you forgive your mom? >> cheyenne nunn: not till she gives it up. >> whitaker: do you think she's going to stop using the drugs? >> cheyenne nunn: no. >> whitaker: cheyenne and lilah haven't seen their mom in more than a year. >> cheyenne nunn: well, i'm not really happy about it. but i know that i have another mom right here. >> whitaker: down the road in salt lake city, alexia ansley told us she too had to step up to be a parent for her younger brother and sisters, as their mother spiraled down into drug and alcohol addictions. >> alexia ansley: she was never there. and if we wanted to get food, we had to get it ourselves. i think she forgot she had kids some of the time. >> whitaker: so you took care of them? >> alexia ansley: uh-huh. i would change their diapers.
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i would feed them. feed them baby food. >> whitaker: when you first started stepping in to be the mom, how old were you? >> alexia ansley: younger than ten. >> whitaker: when their mother was around, alexia said she'd take the kids on excursions to pilfer in the neighborhood. >> alexia ansley: if we saw somebody with this big giant snow globe and snowman, we'd go over there, unplug it, deflate it, put it in the wagon. we would take things. >> whitaker: would you actually go up on people's porches? >> alexia ansley: if they had something on their porch, yeah. >> whitaker: your mom would go sell these things? >> alexia ansley: yeah, she'd sell them, and then she'd go buy drugs. and if she had any money left, she would buy us candy for helping her. or she'd steal candy. and we're kids. candy's everything. >> whitaker: when alexia filled in as mom, she managed to give her younger siblings candy thanks to a sympathetic shopkeeper. >> alexia ansley: sometimes i would gather up some couch
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change, and i tried buying them candy, and the guy at the register would let us take the candy, if i didn't have enough change. >> whitaker: he knew. i heard about couch hopping. what was that? >> alexia ansley: so, we were homeless, at a point in time. we would go to my mom's friend's house, just some of her random friends, and we would sleep on their couch for a couple of days. and then, once they kicked us out, we'd go to another couch. we mostly stayed at crack houses and just slept on their couches. >> whitaker: couch hopping ended five years ago, when the children were legally taken in by their mom's mother, beth. alexia is now 16. brayden is 13; mackenzy 11; and ember 8. all pitch in at grandmom's house. it's now home. >> whitaker: what's better about living with grandmom than living with your mother?
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>> brayden klaus: we get regular food and we get, like, nice clothing. >> ember goode: we have stuffed animals. we don't have a bathroom filled with dirty clothes, up like a mountain. >> mackenzy goode: and we always know that we're going to have a decent meal that'll fill us up, so we're not sleeping hungry. >> whitaker: mackenzy, i heard that you would sleep on the stairs. >> mackenzy goode: yeah, because-- so my mom, she would, like, leave in the middle of the night and go, who knows where, and then not come back for-- sometimes it would be a couple days. i thought that maybe if i slept on the stairs, she would be scared to step on me and so she wouldn't leave. >> whitaker: did that work? >> mackenzy goode: sometimes. sometimes she would skip that step and she would still go out. >> whitaker: some nights, their grandmother beth would secretly park down the street from where her daughter and grandchildren were staying at the time, to
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keep watch-- all night. >> mackenzy goode: it always made me feel safer that she was out there, because we knew that if anything were to happen, we could, like, get hold of her really quickly. >> whitaker: she's like your guardian angel. >> mackenzy goode: yeah. >> whitaker: being a guardian angel has taken a toll. beth told us she has wiped out her savings. alexia got a job to help with the bills. >> beth klaus: and sometimes, i can't pay my electric bill, and i'll have to wait. and i go to the food bank a lot, you know. if i buy them things that are used, i wash them and put them in a box and give them to them. and they've never-- they don't complain. >> whitaker: what has your grandmother had to sacrifice to take care of you guys? >> alexia ansley: dating. ( laughs ) she says it all the time. all the time. "i haven't dated in years." ( laughs ) >> mackenzy goode: she's had to sacrifice almost everything. she had to change the whole way
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that she lived, because our mom decided to do drugs. >> whitaker: in salt lake city, home of the mormon church, finding a beer used to be a challenge. now, drug use is out in the open. stoked by the opioid crisis, 21,000 children-- just in utah-- live with their grandparents. >> bacall hincks: everyone tell me your names. >> whitaker: bacall hincks runs a non-profit organization called grandfamilies, that helps grandparents and grandchildren adjust to new family arrangements. there's a growing demand for its services because of the opioid crisis. >> hincks: unfortunately, opioids is a very hard addiction to overcome, so the likelihood of these parents actually overcoming their addictions and coming home and being able to parent is very low. >> whitaker: hincks introduced us to the families we interviewed. she told us, like alexia and
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cheyenne, young children of addicts often assume the role of parent. >> hincks: what we call parentified. >> whitaker: parentified? >> hincks: yeah. >> whitaker: how do you deal with that? >> hincks: i do my best to help them feel like a child again. and grandma and grandpa are there to take care of them now, and they don't need to worry about the safety of their siblings, because that's someone else's job. that's the adults' job. >> i like myself because i'm me. >> whitaker: grandfamilies has separate groups for young children, older children and grandparents, and brings the generations together for holiday parties. bacall hincks said it's important for them to see many others are in the same boat. >> hincks: they're able to connect with others who are in similar situations, and have friends, and don't feel so isolated and alone anymore. >> ellie kligman: we found people that went through the same type of thing, and it was really helpful to actually express what was happening to us, and they could relate to what was happening. >> whitaker: ellie kligman, her
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brothers, and grandparents were all aided by grandfamilies. the kids moved in with their mom's parents after their family fell apart. first, their dad abandoned them. then, they say, their mom deended into opioid addiction and they ended up homeless. one day, the school bus left them at a stop at this gas station. their mother never came to pick them up. >> cindi rogers: eliana called and said, "grammy, we're sitting here waiting and, you know, my mom hasn't come." >> whitaker: cindi sent their grandfather, michael, to bring the kids home. they both thought they'd only have them a few days. >> michael rogers: and then, a few days turned into a few weeks, and a few weeks turned to months, and here we are. >> whitaker: how many years now? >> cindi rogers: two and a half. almost three. >> michael rogers: going on-- going on three. >> whitaker: had you been planning for retirement? >> cindi rogers: yes. >> cindi rogers: we were going to do tiny house, simplify life, and then travel. >> michael rogers: as it worked out, it didn't work out that way. we became parents instead of grandparents.
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>> whitaker: the kids said, with their mother often sleeping, or out of the house, they could do whatever they wanted. but their grandparents insist on rules. >> ellie kligman: it sucks having rules, and chores. but it has to happen for us to actually grow up and be a responsible adult and take charge of our lives. >> whitaker: michael, you are fighting cancer. >> michael rogers: that's true. i have a terminal cancer. >> whitaker: so has this been especially tough on you? >> michael rogers: yeah. i have good days and bad days. >> cindi rogers: i worry, that i'll miss something in his care, and i have. >> michael rogers: you do wonderful. >> whitaker: they say being parents again has strained his health, their marriage and their bank account. so what has this done to your savings? >> michael rogers: yeah.
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>> cindi rogers: i work full- time, and then two part-time jobs. >> whitaker: their daughter, they told us, has been in rehab. this isn't the retirement they had expected, but... >> michael rogers: but we can't not do it. they're our grandkids. they're our family. >> this cbs sports update is brought you to by the lincoln motor company. hello and happy mother's day. i'm adam zuker in our new york studio. in major league baseball, boston defeated toronto 5-3 improving to 28-12 on the season, the best record in baseball. philadelphia defeated the new york mets, 4-2, it was the phillies fifth win in their last six games. in the nba eastern conference final, the celtics dominated the cavaliers to take a 1-0 series lead. for 24/7sports and highlight, lead. for 24/7sports and highlight, visit
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i thought after sandy hook, where 20 six and seven year olds were slain, this would never happen again. it has happened more than 200 times in 5 years. dianne feinstein and a new generation are leading the fight to pass a new assault weapons ban. say no to the nra and yes to common-sense gun laws. california values senator dianne feinstein >> cooper: you've probably heard the term "shock treatment" used to describe electroconvulsive therapy, or e.c.t. psychiatrists don't like the term because of the stigma surrounding it, which they say prevents the vast majority of
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severely depressed patients from ever trying it. what might surprise you to learn is that, despite its misuse in the past, e.c.t. is now considered one of the most effective treatments for people who haven't been helped by anti- depressant medication. in the u.s. alone, that's more than five million americans suffering from depression so crippling, it leads many people to take their own lives. >> dr. sarah lisanby: one of my patients explained it to me, saying that, "it's not that i want to die-- it's that living is too painful." >> cooper: dr. sarah lisanby works at the national institute of mental health in maryland, developing new ways to help the more than 35% of depressed patients who don't get better with medication. >> lisanby: imagine feeling severely depressed, and then you try medication after medication, and those treatments, even though you're doing everything the doctor told you, the treatments are failing you. >> cooper: how long have they been trying to get some sort of medication that-- that works? >> lisanby: it's not uncommon for someone to have tried 20 or 30 different medications by the time that they come to see me.
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>> cooper: so if you are trying 30 medications, that's-- that is taking years of your life. >> lisanby: exactly. and imagine how that would magnify your hopelessness. >> cooper: we first met dr. lisanby in 2001, when bob simon watched her and her team administer electroconvulsive therapy, e.c.t., long considered a treatment of last resort. ( buzzing ) e.c.t. works by inducing a one-minute seizure, which the patient doesn't feel because he's been given muscle relaxants and general anesthesia. >> yeah, he's seizing. >> cooper: why is the seizure aspect of it so important? because of all the words, "seizure" would be the word i would try to avoid the most? >> lisanby: so, when the brain is seizing, during a seizure, it releases all of the neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals, that are the messengers in the brain. and it releases them very rapidly and massively, in a higher level than medications do. >> cooper: the treatment may work wonders, but only a tiny
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fraction-- about 1%-- of the people who might benefit from it, end up trying it. it's still frightening for people. >> lisanby: it's not something that you have to be afraid of, and so many of my patients, after they've had e.c.t., say to me, "why did i wait so long to do this?" or "why did my doctor wait so long to refer me for this?" >> cooper: that was the reaction of former first lady of massachusetts kitty dukakis. she's now 81, and has become one of the most famous and outspoken advocates for e.c.t. she first had the treatment almost 20 years ago. >> kitty dukakis: the next president, michael dukakis. >> cooper: shortly after her husband, governor michael dukakis, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988, kitty dukakis' struggles with alcohol spiraled out of control. >> dukakis said his wife voluntarily entered the edgehill newport treatment facility in rhode island last night. >> michael dukakis: she's going to be a good patient. she understands herself. i'm married to a very courageous person. >> cooper: she was treated for
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alcoholism, but her drinking masked an underlying chronic depression. >> kitty dukakis: i didn't see any way out of this problem that i had. >> cooper: and had you tried all different kinds of medication? >> kitty dukakis: every kind you can think of, yes. and none of them worked. none of them were successful. >> cooper: how long was it that you were trying different medications, before e.c.t.? >> michael dukakis: 17 years. >> cooper: wow. >> kitty dukakis: yeah. it was a long, long time. >> michael dukakis: one would think that somehow, sometime, earlier than 17 years, somebody would have said, "hey, go see dr. welch." >> dr. charlie welch: hi. >> cooper: dr. charlie welch administers e.c.t. here at mclean psychiatric hospital outside boston. he was the person kitty dukakis came to see about getting it. what did you say to her when she first came? >> welch: i said, "i'm glad you've decided to do this. i think we can get you feeling better fairly quickly." >> cooper: her doctor previously had-- had told her-- who was treating her, told her, "don't go for e.c.t." >> welch: correct.
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>> cooper: back then, e.c.t. was among the most vilified treatments in psychiatry because of the way it used to be administered, portrayed disturbingly in the film "one flew over the cuckoo's nest." >> welch: clearly, "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" gave e.c.t. a bad name, because that's not how it actually is done. >> cooper: it was done that way in the past. >> welch: in the past it was, but it's much more refined now. >> cooper: there was no anesthesia, too much electricity. >> welch: right. >> cooper: so what's different about it now? >> welch: what's different, first of all, is that it's done under general anesthesia, with a muscle relaxant. so, when the treatment is done, the patient is sound asleep and completely relaxed. >> cooper: if you're having it done, you don't even know it's happening because you're asleep. >> welch: that's correct. for the patient, the experience is like taking a five-minute nap. >> cooper: the seizure seems to restore the brain's proper circuitry. in kitty dukakis' case, the results were immediate. >> kitty dukakis: i just was like a new person. >> michael dukakis: it was our
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anniversary, remember? >> kitty dukakis: yeah, right. >> cooper: it was your anniversary? do you remember the day? >> michael dukakis: remember what happened? i picked you up at the hospital. then what happened? >> kitty dukakis: we got in the car and michael started driving. and i said, "i think-- i want to go out for dinner for our anniversary." >> michael dukakis: you said, "let's go out for dinner--" >> kitty dukakis: let's go out-- ( laughs ) okay. >> cooper: if somebody hadn't suggested the e.c.t. to you, what do you think would have happened to you? >> kitty dukakis: i can't imagine. i mean, i think it would have gotten worse and worse and worse. >> michael dukakis: i don't think kitty would be here today. >> cooper: for most depressed patients, e.c.t. involves about eight to 12 treatments over several weeks. in the past 20 years, kitty dukakis has undergone e.c.t. more than 100 times. >> cooper: if e.c.t. works so well for kitty dukakis, why does she need to have repeated treatments? >> welch: the nature of depression is that it is usually a relapsing illness. >> cooper: that's common? >> welch: that is very common. >> cooper: last spring, dukakis decided to stop getting e.c.t. when we first met with her in
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july, she hadn't had her regular treatments for months. her depression had returned, and she had difficulty answering our questions. every doctor i've talked to credits you and your willingness to talk openly about this. >> kitty dukakis: you can ac-- you can explain this better than i can. i'm having trouble speaking right now. >> doctor: just tell us your full name and date of birth, please. kitty. >> kitty dukakis: excuse me? >> doctor: can you just tell us your full name and date of birth? >> kitty dukakis: katherine "kitty" dukakis. >> cooper: realizing she needed help, she resumed getting e.c.t. and allowed us to film it. the whole visit lasted about an hour. dukakis was sedated, and electricity was administered to her brain for a few seconds. ( beeping ) the seizure lasted about a minute. the only sign of it was some slight trembling in her feet. when we met her again two months later, we could see the difference. the last time we saw you, you weren't feeling well. how are you feeling now? >> kitty dukakis: i'm fine.
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i feel very well, and i've been, i've been having treatment again. >> cooper: you're okay with the treatment we filmed, being broadcast? >> kitty dukakis: yeah, i am. i'm convinced that-- that if i can be that public, that it will help others. and i-- i think we both feel that way. >> cooper: is this something you see doing for the rest of your life? >> kitty dukakis: i probably will have to do this for the rest of my life. and, and that's okay. >> cooper: it's just a routine. >> kitty dukakis: it's the way it goes. >> cooper: but as kitty dukakis has experienced to a small degree, e.c.t. carries a disturbing side effect: memory loss. >> lisanby: e.c.t. can cause memory loss. it's been modernized to reduce the amount of memory loss, but it's not zero. >> cooper: what sort of memory loss do people have? i mean, and is it permanent? >> lisanby: typically, memories close in time to the treatment. over time, those memories can return. but the problem is, they don't always return completely. that's what motivates my research. i-- i feel like people shouldn't have to choose between their memories, and their moods.
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>> cooper: dr. sarah lisanby has spent decades trying to solve that problem. she has developed an experimental treatment called magnetic seizure therapy, or m.s.t., that uses magnets instead of electricity to induce the seizure. with e.c.t., the electricity floods the whole brain, including its memory centers. magnets are gentler and can pass through tissue more easily, so they can target just 4% of the brain, in the prefrontal cortex, one of the main areas affected by depression. >> lisanby: okay, so this is the magnetic coil. >> cooper: dr. lisanby showed us how the magnetic coil can pinpoint a specific area of the brain. >> cooper: so what is on the monitor? >> lisanby: okay, so on the monitor, we're looking at a brain scan showing us-- in real time as we move the coil around on your head-- it's showing us where on the brain surface we're targeting. >> cooper: so, so this allows, allows it to be more precise, in terms of where you're stimulating the brain, as opposed to e.c.t., which would
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have a larger area of the brain. >> lisanby: that's right. we can focus the magnetic field more precisely than we can with e.c.t. for example, we can even find just the right spot in your brain to make your thumb twitch, but not the rest of your arm. >> cooper: okay. >> lisanby: so, shall we try it? okay, so i'm going to go ahead and put the coil on your head, and you're going to hear a clicking noise and feel a tapping on your head. are you ready? i'm going to go ahead and start. and, your hand moved. i'm going to move the coil around a little bit. i'm going to go again. see, i got your index finger, there. >> go. >> cooper: it was 18 years ago that dr. lisanby first tried the magnetic treatment on a patient, in switzerland. ( crackling ) >> do we have a seizure? >> yes, we have. >> cooper: i mean, it all happens very fast. it's not a lengthy treatment. >> lisanby: yeah, you can see she's already waking up. >> cooper: she's smiling. >> lisanby: yeah, she's smiling. i mean, she's not in pain, and she started to feel better almost right away. and the important thing is, she did not have serious side effects. >> cooper: since then, lisanby and others have conducted trials that show the magnetic therapy
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seems to work in treating depression without causing noticeable memory loss. one study in 2015 that compared e.c.t. and the magnetic treatment found that "e.c.t.- induced acute memory disruption is absent after m.s.t.," dr. lisanby's magnetic therapy. would it replace e.c.t.? >> lisanby: i would view magnetic seizure therapy, if successful, as an additional tool in the toolbox. for some people, e.c.t. may still be needed. but if magnetic seizure therapy could be effective without the memory loss, who wouldn't want to try that first? >> cooper: starting this year, here at the center for addiction and mental health in toronto, and also in dallas, texas, doctors are comparing the two treatments in the first large, coordinated trial by the national institute of mental health. it will span five years and involve more than 250 patients. >> good morning. >> cooper: sharyn jakab is one of the patients receiving the magnetic treatment. >> sharon jakab: i had severe
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psychosis. i really wanted to kill myself with a gun. >> cooper: did you have a gun in the house? >> jakab: there was a gun in the house, yes. >> cooper: and you had cartridges for it? >> jakab: i had cartridges, yes. >> cooper: once a thriving opthamologist, sharyn jakab lost her career after developing chronic depression that didn't respond to medication. it became so severe, she had to suicide-proof her house, getting rid of all sharp objects, including her ice skates. still, she wouldn't get e.c.t. >> jakab: i didn't want to have e.c.t. because of the stigma and because of the risk of memory loss. >> cooper: you decided not to do it. >> jakab: that's right, and then, my psychiatrist said, how would i like to be part of a study for m.s.t., magnetic seizure therapy? >> cooper: she let us film her procedure. ( buzzing ) >> cooper: after several treatments, which she augmented with medication, she began to feel better. >> jakab: after the fourth
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treatment, i said, i feel much lighter. >> cooper: lighter? that was the-- >> jakab: lighter was the way it felt to me, yes. >> cooper: your face lights up when you talk about it. >> jakab: yes, yes. ( laughs ) yes, i'm very blessed. >> cooper: have you had memory loss? >> jakab: no, i haven't. >> cooper: so no short-term or long-term memory loss. >> jakab: none at all. >> cooper: do you feel like yourself? >> jakab: right now, i feel very, very good. i feel like, like my old self. >> cooper: there is a way out of it? >> jakab: there is light at the end of the tunnel. there is. yes. >> cooper: and you're proof of that. >> jakab: i am. >> for a look at how "60 minutes" reports its stories, as well as interviews with correspondents and producers, go to
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>> what happened behind the scenes of america's number-one news program during the past 50 years? find out new in the book "50 years of "60 minutes." get yours today. captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> wertheim: this evening behind the scenes of an intimate, top-secret documentary. pope francis as you've never seen him or heard him before. >> sense of humor. >> wertheim: in his own words, without a script, challenging catholic conventions and the world. we usually voice over foreign language speakers, but not tonight. >> pope francis ( translated ): and if today you ask me, for you, who is the poorest of the poorest of the poor, i would say: mother earth! we have plundered her!