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Question:
My mom was in and out of a state hospital in Pennsylvania in the 1960s. She talked about shock treatments while she was there and I remember her taking thorozine for many years. She lost a lot of her memory so she was not able to tell me much about the hospital. The name of the hospital was Retreat State Hospital. Could you tell me anything about what kind of place it was and possibly what kind of treatment my mother may have received

S.G.
Leola, Pennsylvania


Answered by Alex Beam:
I did an Internet search, and consulted the site run by a man who catalogues decommissioned hospitals (www.darkspire.org), and could not find Retreat State Hospital. I did, however, find a reference to a Pennsylvania state document turning a hospital of that name over to the Department of Corrections, implying that it is now part of the prison system.

I think that the shock treatment you describe was electric shock, because it was so common in state hospitals during the 1950s and 1960s. So-called Metrazol shock was in disuse, and I don't think insulin/coma shock was all that prevalent then. I am very sorry to hear about her memory loss, which, as you yourself may suspect, could have been induced by an excessive number of shock treatments.


Alex Beam


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