Library Collections: Document: Full Text

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Creator: Frank L. Wright, Jr. (author)
Date: 1947
Publisher: National Mental Health Foundation, Inc.
Source: Available at selected libraries
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4  Figure 5  Figure 6  Figure 7  Figure 8  Figure 9  Figure 10  Figure 11  Figure 12  Figure 13  Figure 14  Figure 15  Figure 16  Figure 17

Previous Page   Next Page   All Pages 

Page 23:


And that was all.


(Based on report 1221)


Willie was doubled up like a jack-knife and lying on the floor. He had been that way for over an hour, but the attend-ants on the ward had been trying to bathe a good share of the other two hundred and forty patients on the ward and hadn't noticed Willie.


When at last one of the attendants passed near Willie, he went over to him.


"What's the matter, fella?" he asked.


Willie's eyes rolled up in his pain-contracted face. "They got me, Thompson. I hurt my back in shock this morning, and haven't been able to sit up since."


Thompson knew that sprained backs did sometimes result from shock therapy, so he told Willie just to take it easy and went to report to the nurse.


"Miss Gordon, Mr. Willard says he hurt his back in shock this morning, and he's lying on the floor in the day-room."


"I'll ask the doctor to look at him when he makes rounds."


Thompson looked at his watch -- still an hour and a half until the ward doctor was scheduled to come. "The patient seems to be in quite a bit of pain."


"All right, the doctor will see to him."


"I thought maybe we could -- "


"Mr. Thompson! You know we can't do anything without doctor's orders. Go on and get the bathing done."


Rules, rules, rules, thought Thompson as he went back to Willie. Rules prevented him from putting Willie to bed. Rules even forbade his letting Willie lie on the floor of the day-room. Rules said he should be bathing patients in the shower room. Phooey on rules. At least he would let Willie lie in the corner.


"Take it easy, Willie," he said. "We'll fix you up in a jiffy."


Dr. Dunham spotted Willie lying on the floor the moment he entered the day-room. "Humph," he snorted, and strode across the room and kicked the bottom of one of Willie's feet. "Hey, what's the matter with you?"


Willie raised his head a little. "I hurt my back in shock this morning, sir. And I haven't been able to stand up straight since.


"Why don't you quit your faking?" the doctor asked, scornfully. "There's nothing the matter with you that a night with a woman wouldn't fix."


Willie did have a sprained back, and he spent many weeks in bed recovering from it.


(Based on report 1142)




"Nurses and attendants should be encouraged to keep some type of behavior notes on their patients. Appreciation should be expressed by the ward physician for notes containing pertinent information."


Kankakee State Hospital,


Patient Charles Thomas was in a catatonic stupor -- he couldn't move or eat or do anything at all by himself. He had to be fed through a tube, and needed all kinds of special attention. His attendants thought it would help the doctor if he could know whether or not Thomas had been having bowel movements, so they kept a careful record.


Once, when it had been over two weeks since Thomas' last movement, they made a note in the journal: "Pt. Thomas defecated today." The journal came back from the doctor with a cryptic addition: "Did you?"


The next entry the attendant made about Thomas' bowel movements included the note, "in case anyone is interested." The doctor wrote after it, "Nobody is."


(Based on report 1151)


Cleaning up the music room was a tedious but interesting task. The hospital had been without any musical activity for several years, and a lot of junk had collected in the meantime. Miss Moran made all sorts of interesting discoveries among the piles of music and boxes.


She drew out one box labeled, "Property of James Doerr -- Patient." Inside she found a large assortment of music, from Bach and Mendelssohn to Cohan and Berlin. But most interesting of all were several pieces of music written by James Doerr himself, as well as a number of original arrangements and orchestrations. Several printed programs and posters in the box showed that he had appeared with a troupe of entertainers in England and Scotland several years previously. Miss Moran made a mental note to look up James Doerr and to get him into her new music program if it was at all possible.


A week later, she had opportunity to refer to James Doerr's record. She found that the diagnosis of the investigating physician included this note: "Delusions of grandeur -- believes he has written songs; believes he has been to Europe where he played before important personages."


(Based on report 1125)


"Doctor Brady, can you tell me what has happened to my son since he has been here?"


"Yes, sir. I certainly can. I'll have my secretary bring in his complete ward record, and I'll go over it with you."


When Dr. Brady got the ward record, he found just three entries had been made during the patient's first five weeks in the hospital:


6-22-45 -- Received on Ward 4, given bath, put to bed.


7-15-45 -- Not much change in patient's condition; is quite resistive; spends most of his time in side room.


7-20-45 -- To diagnostic staff.


"Well, sir, your son has gone through the usual routine. Everything is fine. If anything at all goes wrong, I'll know about it immediately from these records. Everything of even the slightest importance is reported to me immediately."

Previous Page   Next Page

Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49  50    All Pages