I-"I Was A Mental Patient At Kings County" - Michael Mok - New York World Telegram and Sun

I-"I Was A Mental Patient At Kings County" - Michael Mok - New York World Telegram and Sun

Scared children, depraved men, jammed in wards; reporter reveals overcrowding and inadequate staff

by: Michael Mok | publication date: March 15, 1961 | Publication: New York World-Telegram and Sun | pages: 1

Despite the best efforts of its dedicated doctors and nurses, Kings County Hospital disgorges many of its mental patients with their minds scraped raw because its staff and facilities are inadequate for the processing of the mentally ill. Personal inspection of the psychiatric division reveals:     Dreadful overcrowding - so bad that patients are forced to sleep in dining areas and hallways.     Lack of segregation - frightened children locked in with depraved adults.     Improper housing arrangements - slightly depressed patients thrown in with raving lunatics.     Inadequate staffing - evidenced by overworked doctors, nurses, attendants and social workers.     Unsanitary conditions in the bathrooms of the wards     Questionable psychiatric decisions - patients often sent off to state institutions or returned to society after only a few minutes of psychiatric examination.     Inadequate physical examination - patients not checked for venereal or other communicable diseases upon entering the hospital.       

This is the first article in the World-Telegram's series called "I Was a Mental Patient" by reporter Michael Mok. From the editor's note: "For months, the World-Telegram has received complaints from men and women who have been patients in the psychiatric division of Kings County Hospital. The nature of the complaints was such that the World-Telegram decided to investigate conditions in the Brooklyn institution. Without the knowledge of any one in the hospital or in the Department of Hospitals, staff writer Michael Mok was assigned to become a patient in the psychiatric ward of Kings County. He spent eight days in the locked wards. He was instructed to report his findings in a constructive effort to improve conditions. His series begins today."

Copyrighted, used with permission.