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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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Page 7:


"Dr. Grant, there are four visitors in the office to see you."


"Oh, is that so? I won't be able to see them in person today. Is there anything special?"


Miss Ingles knew the rest of the conversation by heart -- it was almost always the same. The visitors would get the "run-around" and she was the one who had to give it to them. I think most of them are just routine."


'Well, you try to take care of them. If any of them insist on talking with me, put them on the phone. I really can't come down just now."


All right. Dr. Grant. Mrs. Edwards wants to ask about taking her son home for a trial visit, so I'll put her on soon."


Miss Ingles knew what to expect from Dr. Morrison, too. When she told him there were visitors waiting, he said with real concern: "Oh, I forgot today was visitors' day. I'll be right down." He really had forgotten -- he forgot almost everything unless his wife was on hand to remind him.


In just a few minutes. Dr. Morrison came into the office. He was a small, jovial man of sixty-five, a victim of high blood pressure and dizzy spells. He smiled vaguely in the direction of the visitors, mumbled that he was sorry about the wait, and went to his desk.


"You're first, Mrs. Kauffman," Miss Ingles nodded to a gray-haired mother whose son had been under Dr. Morrison'a care for two years. The boy had recently had electro-shock treatments, and was well on his way to recovery.


Mrs. Kauffman went right to the point. "Dr. Morrison, you said on the phone this morning that I could take James home for the weekend this afternoon. But the nurse tells me she has no order to let him go out for a visit. Can he come?"


Dr. Morrison made an effort not to look as blank as his mind was. "Oh, your son. James -- what was the name?"


"James Kauffman."


"Oh, yes. Excuse me and I'll check up on it."


He went to the telephone on Miss Ingle's desk and called his wife, who was in charge of the hospital pharmacy. "Molly. There's a Mrs. Kauffman here who wants to take her son, James, home for the weekend. I can't remember the boy, but probably you do."


"Certainly. You asked me about him this morning, and we decided he should go on the visit."


"Hm! I forgot to make a note of it, I guess. Well -- thanks, Molly."


He phoned the male supervisor, giving orders for James Kauffman to go on a weekend visit. Then he asked Miss Ingles to get the case histories of other patients he might have to discuss with visitors. "My memory doesn't seem to be very good today," he explained apologetically.


When Miss Ingles returned with the case histories, Dr. Morrison was discussing politics and the O.P.A. with Mr. Herman, whose wife was a chronic case. As the afternoon wore on, the conversation touched on the army discharge system, the National League pennant race, the rubber shortage and the relative merits of American and foreign women. The five o'clock chimes on the tower clock reminded Dr. Morrison it was time to go off duty.


He stood up and shook hands with Mr. Herman, and then strode over to the three visitors still awaiting him. He asked each one whom they were calling about, and assured each, in slightly different words, that he thought he might have a full report on the case in another few weeks.


Just as Dr. Morrison was about to leave, Mr. Herman came back into the office.


"By the way," he said, "I forgot what I came for. Here's ten dollars I want deposited for my wife in the patients' store. That ought to keep her in ice cream cones for a while."


"I'll take care of it," Dr. Morrison assured him, slipping the bill into his pocket. He turned to say goodnight to Miss Ingles.


She held out her hand. "Don't you want me to take care of that ten dollars?" she asked.


Dr. Morrison looked puzzled a moment. "Oh, yes," he said, "Will you? I might forget."


(Based on report 748)




"In the nursing of patients who are mentally ill, every bit of personality counts, every bit of intelligence counts, every bit of insight as to what is going on in the patient's mind counts. The psychiatrist directs the way; it is the nurse who leads the patient back to health."


In Nursing Mental Diseases,
Published by the Macmillan Co.


"Miss Branscome! Are you washing out that sink yourself?"


"Certainly I am, Bristol. I want to do my share in keeping the ward clean."


"My! It certainly is a pleasure to have a nurse like you on duty for a change. That Miss Felder never did a hand's turn. Of course, I expected to do all the cleaning, but she wouldn't even take care of the patients."


"Now, Bristol, don't be unfair to Miss Felder. I'm sure she gave the best treatment possible." Actually, Miss Branscome, new nurse on North Infirmary, knew that the ghastly bed sores on some of the patients could have resulted only from gross neglect. But attendants should not criticize nurses.


"Unfair!" exclaimed Miss Bristol. "I can't be unfair to her. Many's the time I've seen her fail to apply a bandage the doctor ordered -- and then tell the doctor, when he asked, that the patient kept tearing it off. Many's the time she filled in the temperature chart for sick patients without even going near them. And I won't soon forget the way she kept patients under sedation without a doctor's order."

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