Karina Hansen was forcibly removed from her home to undergo experimental treatment

Karina Hansen is a 24 year old danish woman who has been diagnosed with severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.). She was forcibly taken from her home, and placed in a danish hospital to undergo treatment that could be detrimental to her.

This is her story.

On Feb 12th 2013, 5 policemen from Holstebro county, Denmark, came to Karina’s house and forcibly removed her from her bed. There were also 2 doctors, a locksmith and 2 social workers present.

Karina was then driven to a hospital in an ambulance. Her parents were not told where Karina was being taken or what reason they had for taking her. No paperwork was given to her parents. Later that day, they got a phone call and were told that Karina was at Hammel Neurocenter, and that someone would call them every day at 10 a.m. to tell them how Karina was doing. They were also told that no one could visit Karina for 14 days.

A few days later, Karina’s parents got a letter from a psychiatrist, Nils Balle Christensen, which said he would be in charge of Karina’s treatment at Hammel Neurocenter. He also wrote that because “of her condition”, Karina was not allowed visitors for 14 days. That ban on visitors was later extended to three weeks because Nils Balle Christensen was on vacation.  

Nils Balle Christensen works at The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. He and his boss, psychiatrist Per Fink, believe that ME is a functional disorder. In Denmark, a functional disorder is understood to be a psychosomatic illness. The treatments the clinic recommends are: Graded Excercise Therapy (GET), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and anti-depressants. The psychiatrists at this clinic have no experience with severely-ill ME patients and we fear that Karina is being treated incorrectly and that their mistreatment of her will lead to a severe and permanent worsening of her condition. 

Karina’s parents and lawyer have still not received any official paperwork from any government body or doctor about the reason for Karina’s removal. They have not received a treatment plan or copies of Karina’s journals, except for a few blood test results. No official charges have been made against her parents. This case has never been heard by a court. Karina’s parents do not know when/if they will be allowed to see her or when/if Karina will be allowed to come home. Karina’s parents and her lawyer have power of attorney for Karina, but this is being ignored. The regional state administrations for Mid-Jutland (Statsforvaltningen Midtjylland) have appointed someone from their office as a guardian for Karina.


The only information the family receives about Karina comes from a head doctor from Hammel Neurocenter, Jens Gyring. He now calls Karina’s father twice a week and tells him how Karina is. But the parents have a hard time trusting what is being said because they get conflicting information. Nils Balle Christensen says Karina is improving every day, but Jens Gyring says there is no change. Her sister thinks Karina is worse. Jens Gyring says he is taking all of his orders about Karina’s care from Nils Balle Christensen and that the treatment given is a rehabilitation program.

Why are the parents and the lawyer not allowed to see the whole paperwork from the case apart from some bloodtests?


Why are the parents not allowed to visit?  Are there any charges made against the parents?  Karina’s mother was paid by the county to take care of Karina and there was never any report of neglect. After Karina was taken, her mother was fired from her job on the grounds that the job was no longer needed.


Jens Gyring gave a verbal message to the family that this could continue for a long time, perhaps a year. We have not seen any evidence that Karina is getting better.


The Danish Board of Health claims that Karina’s lawyer is not her lawyer, as they now state that Karina was not competent when she hired her lawyer in May 2012. The lawyer has represented Karina since May 2012 and received access to Karina’s case at that time on the basis that he had authority as her lawyer. Then, The Danish Board of Health informed her lawyer, that it is true that he had authority at the time of the first failed attempt to section Karina (May 3rd, 2012), but that the power of attorney does not apply to the incident in Feb. 2013, when Karina was forcibly removed and hospitalized.


The psychiatrist, Nils Balle Christensen, writes that Karina is an adult and has the ability to make ”here and now decisions”  and that Hammel Neurocenter is doing nothing against her will. But at the same time, Holstebro Kommune believes that Karina needs a guardian and Statsforfatningen Midtjylland have appointed one for her. This disempowers Karina completely and leaves all decisions up to her guardian. 

Karina’s lawyer has recently received a very limited access to some of the paper
work in Karina’s case by using the Public Records Act. This revealed that it is actually not permitted in Denmark to prevent relatives from visiting their family members in the hospital and that human rights have priority.

Furthermore, these papers reveal that there was an inquiry to the Ministry for Health and Prevention about the right to prevent relatives from visiting family members at a hospital. On Dec. 21 th, 2012, the Minister secretary sent a 5-page answer that explains that human rights have priority (weigh very heavily).

At Hammel, Karina’s parents introduced themselves to the staff and asked for permission to see their daughter. The answer was No and they were told that they should have made an appointment with the doctor before coming. Rebecca Hansen, chairman of the danish ME Association asked if there was a ban on visits and they answered no, not a ban. Then she asked if there were restrictions, but did not receive an answear. Instead, a staff member said that she would call Jens Gyring, the head doctor at the center. They were asked to wait. The staff at Hammel Neurocenter were polite and friendly, but it was obvious that they were not comfortable with the family being there. Rebecca Hansen pointed out that it was not legal to prevent parents from seeing their child and tried to show them the statement from the Ministry of Health and Prevention. A second staff member broke in to say that this discussion must be taken up with the doctors and not them.

In the meantime, Jens Gyring was contacted again and said that Karina should be asked if she wanted a visit. A new nurse joined our discussion and said: “I have just been in with Karina and said you were here, and asked if she wanted a visit, and she just shook her head". Very interesting that suddenly there was no ban, but now it was up to Karina...

Karina’s mom said that she would like to hear the words from Karina’s own mouth. That she would like to see Karina and hear Karina’s answear. And if Karina told her to leave, she would go away immediately. The staff insisted that Karina had given her answear.

When her parents got home, they wrote a mail to Nils Balle Christensen and once again asked for a written explanation as to why they may not see Karina and what the agenda would be for the meeting that he requires before they can see her.
Nils Balle Christensen answered that there is no ban on visits. And since Karina’s parents don’t want to meet with Nils Balle Christensen, then they can meet with the head doctor Jens Gyring instead: “where there can be made written agreements about future visits, telephone contact and more.”
Isn’t this still a ban until their conditions are met? How is this any different from a ban on visits until the parents meet with Nils Balle Christensen?

A few days later, Karina’s parents were told by the doctor Jens Gyring that it would be up to the lawyers to make a written agreement about visitation. This could take 2 weeks.

In the meantime, we can think about what this situation means for other ME patients and their families in Denmark. A severely-ill ME patient is assigned a psychiatrist that has never treated a severely-ill ME patient before. The psychiatrist comes from a clinic that has chosen not to work with international ME experts. (letter from Sept. 2012 and minutes from the meeting in Oct. 2012) The psychiatrist does not wish to work with the patient’s lawyer or give any written information about the treatment he will give. When the ME patient and the family decide they do not want the treatment offered by this psychiatrist, then the Danish authorities work together to remove the patient from her home - quite obviously against her will - and isolate her from her family and her lawyer.

Don't ME patients in Denmark have the right to choose which treatment they want to receive?
Do they not have the right to have visitors when they are in the hospital?
The written restrictions about visitations stated that Karina’s parents would only be allowed to see her if they would appear to support the treatment (Graded Excersise Therapy) that Karina is being forced to have. They had not been allowed to visit before, because there was a suspicion that they would say something negative about the treatment. A nurse must be with them at all times to make sure Karina is not “affected in an inappropriate direction.”

Studies have shown that Graded Exercise Therapy makes the vast majority of mildly-affected Myalgic Encephalomyelitis-patients worse.
In Belgium, statefunded Reference Centers treated mildly affected Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patients with Graded Excersise Therapy, but an evaluation of these centers showed that Graded Excersise Therapy was not effective and patients could actually work LESS after getting the treatment. The Belgian Minister of Health officially declared that Graded Excercise Therapy should not be regarded as a curative therapy for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Karina has severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and no studies of Graded Excersise Therapy have been done on this patient group. Therefore treating severely-ill ME patients with Graded Excercise Therapy can only be seen as experimental. It is illegal to force experimental treatment on patients in Denmark.

The doctors who have ordered this treatment are psychiatrists Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink from The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. It is completely unacceptable that Danish authorities are allowing the psychiatrists to treat Karina in this way.

Karina is so ill that she usually only has the energy to speak one word at a time. She does best with yes/no questions and questions that do not require complex thought. When her nurses push her too much, she gets angry and cries. Sometimes she summons the energy to say “You are killing me.” But the treatment goes on. If she says nothing, they assume she is cooperating.

Karina’s parents followed the recommendations of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis experts when caring for Karina at home. Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink are ignoring those recommendations.
At home Karina was allowed to decide her own treatment, but Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink do not allow her to choose her treatment.

When Karina was committed, all medication was stopped. The staff did not know what medicine she had been taking before she was committed. At home she took cortisol and supplements that were recommended by a doctor.
Karina refuses to take any supplements or medicine of any kind at the hospital.

Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink do not believe that Karina has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. The doctor who met with the family on May 31st receives his information about Karina and ME from Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink. This doctor said that ME is a “figment of the imagination” and doctors who believe in ME are “imbeciles.” (Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink are officially in charge of all ME patients in Denmark.)

Karina has been diagnosed with ME 4 times: twice by ME specialists once by a rheumatology hospital and once by a psychiatrist

Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink are not interested in working with Myaligic Encephalomyelitis  specialists or anyone from outside their facility. Rebecca Hansen offered to have an ME expert come and examine Karina, but that was turned down. Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink believe that Karina has a mental illness and probably had it for some time before she became bedbound. The doctor they spoke with said that treating Karina after the recommendations of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis specialists was malpractice and had made her worse. He would not tell the family the name of the illness they think Karina has, or what they think started it, but they were sure that the treatment for this mysterious mental illness was Graded Excercise Therapy.

Remember, there is NO evidence that Karina is or ever was mentally ill, as she was always declared mentally healthy.

Karina was extremely ill the first week or so after she was committed to Hammel Neurocenter.
Stress and overexertion make Myalgic Encephalomyelitis worse and Karina used a lot of energy trying to get help when they committed her. She repeatedly told them she did not want to be there and she made 26 phones calls for help, including one to the police, before her phone died. She has improved in comparison to that first week, but there is no significant improvement from when she was at home. She still cannot walk and she is still very anemic.

When asked if Karina could speak in complete sentences, the doctor said: She says and has always said, “You are killing me.” That is a whole sentence.

They had recently put her on suicide watch because she had been crying a lot. This was never a concern when she was at home.

We hope the staff at Hammel will think hard about what is being done to Karina and decide if they want to be a part of it.
Karina needs is to be in a place that understands ME and respects the special needs of severely ill Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patients. The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics clearly has no understanding of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and is not interested in learning anything that goes against their theory that "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a figment of the imagination.”
They should not be in charge of any Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patient. And as long Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink are giving the orders, Hammel Neurocenter is an unfit place for Karina.
Disclaimer: This campaign is a private iniative for the release of Karina Hansen. Although all information about Karina is approved by either the Danish ME Associaton or the Hansen Family, we are in no way associated with them.