Geri Joseph (Part 1)
Reporter for the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, who did a series of articles on the institutions in 1948 and 1950
(Run time 2:02)
It was the kind of scene that really haunts you for long after, after you have been through them. We very methodically went through all of the institutions at that time. I don't remember, there were seven or eight.
Those hospitals were in very, very bad shape. You would not have called them hospitals. People who have described them as warehouses. That's really what they were. You just sort of stockpile people in there. There was very little treatment of any kind. If you got a physical exam once a year, that was a miracle.
What you would see in these hospitals by and large would be men and women either just standing around doing nothing or you would see those who were catatonic sitting in corners, on the floor, sitting like this, all bunched over, not moving, not speaking, In one of the hospitals there were just an incredible number of people who were literally tied up. They'd have leather cuffs.
Or they have almost like a baseball catcher with the leather things in the front and the hands hooked to it, or some of them would be tied to beds, spread-eagle tied to beds. They had no sheets or pillowcases on these beds. And the ticking, you know, the mattress ticking, in many places was very dirty. Well, it is very hard to describe it adequately.