DISASTER: A Chance to Be a Hero

The patients in Belle-Vista Sanatorium, on the northwestern edge of Philadelphia, went to bed one night last week in their usual atmosphere of medieval gloom. For the most violent, bed was a hollowed-out slab of concrete and a pallet in a small barricaded ward or a private cubicle. Some were shackled to the concrete with straps and locks. The moderately violent slept on cots and were restrained with leather straps. The merely senile and harmlessly demented slept unfettered.

By 11 o'clock all of Belle-Vista's 91 patients had been put to bed and the 47-year-old private sanatorium lay dark and quiet....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!