Sunday, July 31, 2005

Madhouse

May 29, 2005, The New York Times.
The novelist Patrick McGrath reviews the sociologist Andrew Scull's MADHOUSE: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine. In this book, Scull, who has long been interested in the abuses of biological psychiatry, presents a full account of the career of Henry Cotton at Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey between 1907 and 1930. Cotton, who believed that major mental illnesses were caused by focal infections, conducted an ambitious program of surgically removing " the infected teeth and tonsils of dozens of his patients, not to mention their stomachs, gallbladders, colons, testicles and ovaries." As a persistent critic of psychiatry, Scull has chosen an exemplary subject to show psychiatry in its worst light.

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