8. Starved To Death
In the spring of 1911, charges were filed against the Topeka State Hospital that were supposed to lead to an investigation. The charges were made by former and current employees about the condition and treatment of the patients trapped inside the hospital.
A local newspaper printed part of a letter that was presented to the board:
I wish to make the statement that John Green, a patient in Ward E, 2, lay ill in bed for eight days and died; and during this period he was given no food or medicine. His condition was reported every morning and nothing was done.
The body of Green was taken to the dissecting room, his brain taken out and used in a demonstration by Dr. T. C. Biddle before a class in the chapel the next day without the consent of Green’s relatives. Biddle wanted the brain to demonstrate the condition of a congested brain. Attendants Roberts and Johnson could not be convinced as they well knew the patient came to his death by starvation.
7. Treated Like A Dog
One witness to the abuse happening at the state hospital wrote about a patient named Mr. Smith, a former banker. While the statement didn’t give the reason why Smith was placed in the hospital, his treatment was completely uncalled-for.
Smith was often seen wearing handcuffs. His attendant also saw fit to lead Smith around the property with a rope tied around his neck. Sometimes, the attendant would get drunk and beat Smith mercilessly. Another time, the attendant tied Smith to a tree and left him there for hours.
On one occasion, it was witnessed that the attendant threw the end of the rope over a door and pulled Smith’s head up to the top of the door, cruelly strangling him as some sort of punishment.