Medicine: Out of Bedlam

Mrs. X was 55 when she was admitted to the Topeka State Hospital in 1932. Suffering from delusions that her husband was trying to kill her (by putting formaldehyde on her toothbrush), she had tried to kill him. A year later the hospital recorded her as "mentally better . . . but . . . still delusional." Four years later, the hospital recorded that she had "shown a tendency to injure others and should be observed for a much longer period . . . before a parole is considered." In 1941, an examining board adjudged her "incurably insane."

Eight long years later,...

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