Thursday, September 13, 2012
Long ago there was a different attitude toward the mentally ill and mentally deficient in the U.S.
We are much more enlightened today.
Between the 1920s and the 1960s, it was thought that state-ordered sterilization was part of the solution. This was the era of the Progressives' eugenics ideas, though much of it was pre-WWII.
These people were often put in state hospitals, the mentally ill for treatment and the mentally deficient or "feeble-minded" as they were called, for warehousing. Warehousing and experimentation sometimes.
Epileptics, embarrassments to their parents, were housed in other state hospitals and often lived out their lives there. Obviously these people were not mentally deficient (for the most part) nor mentally ill, yet they were separated from society anyway. Experimental surgeries were performed and different medications were tried.
I have read that the Nazis got a lot of their ideas about racial cleansing from us and our progressive society. I don't like to think that is true.
For the mentally ill, Electro-shock therapy was common - it still is used today - and then came the rise in popularity of the lobotomy. Next post, I would like to introduce you to the father of modern lobotomy, perfecter of the transorbital method, performer of nearly 3500 lobotomies, Dr. Walter Freeman. Some people hailed him as a true medical pioneer, and some probably still do. Personally, I think of him as Victor Frankenstein incarnate.