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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Yates’s Husband Blames Inadequate Medical Care

Russell Yates lost everything because of his wife, Andrea’s, mental illness, but says he has remained a steadfast husband. Andrea Yates was sentenced to life in prison March 18, for drowning their five children in a psychotic episode her husband attributed to post-partum depression during his first prime-timeinterview on ‘Larry King Live’.

Yates blames his wife’s mental illness and the inadequate medical care she received as the causes of his children’s deaths. He still believesthat his wife is a good person who only wanted to do what she thought best for her children.

‘We went to a doctor two days before this happened,’ Yates said. ‘I mean, we went the children passed away on June 20. We went to a doctor on June 18. [Doctor Saeed is] a trained professional who is supposed to be able to recognize these kinds of things…it’s the doctor who decides whether she she needs to go to the hospital. He is the one that signs the admission form. And if he didn’t think she needed to go to the hospital then we’re just going to make do at home.’

Yates felt that he was not at fault for the deaths of his children because Ms. Yates did not tell him she intended to harm their children nor did she give any indication of being violent.

He likened his wife’s situation to that of an insane man on a street corner who appears normal to passers by until he begins singing ‘some crazy song.’

‘That’s how it was with Andrea,’ Mr. Yates said. ‘She seemed to struggle to remain as functional as she could, but she was very quiet.

And we had absolutely no idea that she was a danger to anyone…she didn’t tell me that she had thoughts of harming the children.’

Ms. Yates’ situation is also similar to the Salem Witch Trials, according to Mr. Yates, because many people do not understand the nature of her mental illness as well as a physical illness like cancer.

‘It’s kind of back to, in some sense, like Salem,’ Mr. Yates said. ‘That’s the way I feel. If a woman had an epileptic fit [thetown would] say she had a demon and burn her. Here Andrea has a postpartum psychosis and drowns her children, and [society is] like, burn her. It’snot to different to me.’

Mr. Yates stated that he is not angry with his wife, because he believes that she only wanted to help their children. In her psychotic state she believed the children were ‘headed for hell’ and killing them would send them to God, according to Mr. Yates.

‘How can I be angry at her when I believe she was trying to save the children?’ Mr. Yates said.’ I mean, her mind was sick…she didn’t bringthe sickness on herself. It’s a biochemical disease.’

Mr. Yates also said he believes his wife is a person of good character whoshould be hospitalized instead of imprisoned.

‘She was sick,’ Mr. Yates said. ‘She’s a victim. She’s not a criminal. And that’s why I’m so offended that she’s beensentenced to prison, I mean, she needs treatment. She doesn’t need punishment.I love her. She’s wonderful. You know, kind, gentle, caring loving person.She believed she was doing the right thing at the time.’

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