Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 1919

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doddie
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Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:45 pm

Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 1919

Post by doddie » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:29 pm

I have come across an intriguing account of what befell my grandfather (George Jackson Stewart) while recuperating from psychological trauma he sustained during the First World War. For several months in 1919 he was a patient at what was then known as the Argyll & Bute District Asylum in Lochgilphead. His condition, according to some pension documents was dementia praecox. My grandfather had been in various hospitals until eventually being admitted to the asylum which was near his home village of Ardrishaig. While he was there he was apparently subjected to frequent physical assaults at the hands of an asylum orderly. If it hadn't been for the intervention of the medical superintendent - a very kind man, by all accounts - the whole matter may have become much worse. I would like to find out more about this episode of my grandfather's life. I have very little information to go on and have found no information in any of the local newspapers of the period. It occurs to me that my grandfather may not have been the orderly's only victim at the asylum and that maybe somebody out there has knowledge of a similar story relating to one of their own relatives. I know it is not a particularly uplifting tale, to say the least, but it would be interesting to me to shed some more light on the matter.

Regards

Doddie

paddyscar
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Re: Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 191

Post by paddyscar » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:57 am

Hi Doddie, and a warm welcome to [talkingscot]

The Argyll-Bute community site has information on contacts for historical and family research, with links to the library and archives. https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/communit ... e/archives

You will find pictures of the institute at http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/search/ ... mit=search

Others with more local information may be along soon to offer other suggestions.

Hope this will be of help.

Frances
John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow

doddie
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:45 pm

Re: Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 191

Post by doddie » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:46 pm

Thanks for the links Frances. I will drop the Argyll archives an email about this and see what they are able to find.

Regards

Doddie

Russell
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Re: Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 191

Post by Russell » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:11 pm

Hi Doddie
I have some doubts whether you would find any information in the newspapers of the time. Asylums were almost totally closed communities right up till the fifties. What went on in them stayed within the hospital and many patients had little or no contact with their families outside. It was time when there were no drugs to help recovery and many patients were restrained by use of Paraldehyde or Choral hydrate both of which tended to knock the person out rather than restore their mental equilibrium. It was tough being an asylum attendant. In my early years in psychiatry staff were often chosen for size and strength rather than academic ability although the introduction of mental nurse training rectified that. Drugs which had a specific effect on counteracting mental illness did not appear until the late 1950's.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

doddie
Posts: 113
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Re: Patient assaulted by orderly at Argyll & Bute Asylum 191

Post by doddie » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:41 pm

Hi Russell, thanks for your reply, very informative. I suppose it is very easy to take it for granted that even during the period concerned anyone working in an asylum would automatically have had some sort of medical training (even if very basic). As you rightly point out, orderlies would more likely to have been tasked with dealing with the more routinely physical aspect of things. If I'm honest, I suppose I was hoping to find out more simply because, unlike the permanently incarcerated patients in the asylum, my grandfather was released after several months having recovered from his psychological problems and so perhaps his encounters with the orderly concerned might have been aired openly rather than being 'contained' within the restrictive environment of the asylum.

Regards

Doddie

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