Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Who invented the straight-jacket?
The straight-jacket acquired a bad reputation in the twentieth century. With "chemical straight-jackets" like Haldol and Thorazine, the use of the cloth one seemed barbaric.Originally the straight-jacket was considered a humane advance over the chains that were used at the time to restrain dangerous patients. In a straight-jacket the patient could walk around freely without risking harm to himsellf or others. Furthermore, the anger generated by chaining people made them more dangerous and also distorted observations of their true clinical state. For anyone who is interested I might add that the straight jacket was invented in 1790 by an upholster named Guilleret at Bicêtre, an asylum for the chronically mentally ill near Paris. Known as la camisol de force it was a vest of strong cloth with long sleeves which could be attached to each other behind the back of the person one wanted to prevent from causing harm. [Funck-Brentano, F. & Marindaz, G. L'Hôpital Général Bicêtre, Lyon, 1928, p.26]]