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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

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Then, remembering that he had just had a scuffle with Hermitzky and put him into camisole. Miller said. "I'll go get that Polack myself." While he was gone, the other attendants served the meal and fed the patients who couldn't feed themselves.


Miller brought Hermitzky in by brute force and sat him down in a chair. He offered a spoonful of soup, but Hermitzky turned his head away. "So, you won't eat, eh?


"Don't then!" Miller left the patient to gaze into the watery soup.


After a moment, Hermitzky got up and started to leave the dining room. Miller seized him by the camisole, turned him around and pushed him toward his chair. "Get back there and sit down!"


Muttering in his unintelligible gibberish and glowering at everything in sight, Hermitzky went half way toward his seat, hesitated, and started to turn back to the door. At that moment Miller hit the old man, whose arms were completely confined in the camisole, with a series of hard blows in the kidney area. The force of the blows threw Hermitzky forward with such violence that he lost his balance, and with no hands free to throw out in protection, he crashed into the steel radiator as he fell.


Hermitzky was unconscious a few moments, while Miller stood over him. When he moved again. Miller jerked him up onto his chair, wiped at the gash on his head with a paper napkin, and said: "I don't think that will be very noticeable by the time the supervisor comes through."


Meanwhile, the dinner routine had gone on as usual. For a time, the patients had been disturbed by such an atmosphere for their meals. But no more. Growing used to such scenes was a part of becoming adjusted to the hospital routine. Patients on Ward 62 had been around a long time. They were "adjusted."


(Based on report 969)


The blisters on Mr. Dunn's hands were so painful that he decided he'd better rest a day or two before going back to shoveling coal. He didn't want to give up his job on the coal pile -- anything was better than just sitting on the ward all day long. But he had been an accountant before he entered the hospital, and shoveling coal was hard work for him.


When the powerhouse foreman came to collect his worker-patients, Mr. Dunn said, "I would like to be excused temporarily from outside work, Mr. Grace."


"Come on, you loafer. We've got coal to unload today."


"But, my hands -- "


"Quit bellyaching," Mr. Grace ordered, as he pushed Dunn on through the door. Then he called to the ward attendant, "Okay, I've got my ten," and closed the door.


The rough handle of the shovel bit into Mr. Dunn's blistered hands. Tears of pain blurred his vision, but he kept working, slowly but constantly. This was occupational, he was sure -- could it be therapy?


He didn't even wince when he heard Grace shout:


"Dunn! Get a move on." He slowly urged his shovel under a pile of coal, gritted his teeth, gripped the handle, and lifted the shovelful into a wheelbarrow. He lowered the end of his shovel again, started to repeat the process. Then the flat of a shovel hit him heavily in the back, and he buckled under the blow.


Grace swung the shovel once more at Dunn's back and called for two other attendants to help him. The three of them drew Dunn to his feet, punched him a dozen times in the stomach and ribs, knocked him down again. Then they rushed him off to the violent ward.


The next day Dunn was sent to the medical ward and given an X-ray. Eighteen bruises were noted on the supervisor's report, and three ribs were listed as apparently broken.


Two days later, Mr. Dunn died. His post-mortem report reads: "Cause of death: Unknown."


(Based on report 1328)


"Where are you taking me? Get your hands off me! I ain't done nothing. Let me go!" Over and over, Andy protested to the big policemen riding on either side of him in the back seat of the patrol car. His wrists were locked in leather cuffs and fastened to a strap around his waist. The strap was fastened to one of the policemen. Andy didn't know where he was being taken, but he was sure someone meant to do him harm.


At Andy's continued protests, one of the policemen became angry. He punched Andy in the ribs and said, "Shut up, you fool. We're taking you to the hospital." Obviously, Andy figured, this was no way to go to a hospital, and the cops were lying to him.


When the car stopped in front of a big stone building out in the country, and a nurse and two men in white coats came out to the car, Andy wondered if the policeman had been right. "Here's a new one for you," one policeman said. The other detached himself from the strap around Andy's waist and said, "Better watch him. He talks tough."


The nurse, however, smiled reassuringly at Andy. "Welcome to the hospital, Mr. Andrews. Won't you come along with me?"


Andy followed the nurse, and the two white-coated attendants followed just behind. The nurse asked Andy to take a bath and laid out clean pajamas for him. Then she told the attendants to take off the cuffs and straps and get him ready to see the doctor. The doctor asked many personal questions, but he kept telling Andy he was going to help him. So Andy answered as best he could, telling especially about the gangsters who were after his money and his wife all of the time, and how he had stood guard over his wife day and night to keep her from harm. The doctor assured him that Mrs. Andrews was well taken care of now, and had called to say that she hoped Andy would sleep well and regain his strength at the hospital.

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