Medicine: Open Door in Psychiatry

The women patients in ward 37 at New York's St. Lawrence State Hospital, overlooking the seaway then abuilding, were all agitated and ill at ease, and one was frantic. A housemaid from Alabama by way of Chicago, she rushed up to the nurse supervisor, shouting: "Mrs. Holmes has gone crazy—crazier than we are—she won't lock the door!" As a matter of fact, Attendant Irene Holmes was doing just what the doctor ordered. First, the doors of individual wards, then of whole buildings, were being unlocked and left unlocked for lengthening periods up to twelve...

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