Fourth Annual Report, State Lunatic Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts

Pamphlet

Background Notes

The State Lunatic Hospital published annual reports each year as part of its commitment to the Commonwealth. The superintendent of the institution wrote the introductory report and the treasurer also added his report, including a breakdown of the various expenses incurred throughout the year. Also included was a chart, which listed information about the individual patients—such as the date of their admission to the hospital, their age, the supposed cause of their commitment, and time spent in the hospital.

One table from the report (Table 15) has been reproduced here in a format readily usable for educational purposes. The reader notices that intemperance is often listed as the cause of the patient's admission to the hospital. It is also useful to note the proportion of male to female patients, and the status of the patients at the time of the report such as "remains in hospital," "not improved," and the time spent in the hospital, among the other topics listed.

The report also contains sharp observations, both medical and sociological, such as the following: "Relapses from recoveries of insanity are not more frequent than from other acute diseases, and are less numerous than we should expect, when we consider that many patients return from the Hospital to the scenes and circumstances connected with the origin of the disease.

"If insanity arises from domestic afflictions ... the impressions may again be renewed, when the individual arrives at home. The lost friends are not there ... poverty may again oppress, and intemperance, of all causes of insanity the most likely to be renewed, because temptations are everywhere presented."

Transcription of Primary Source

Table 15

Showing the Relation between Cause and Recovery

 
  Whole no. No. of each sex Cured or Curable Not Curable
         
Intemperance 110      
Male   93 46 47
Female   17 8 9
         
Ill health, including wounds 86      
Male   23 12 11
Female   63 50 13
         
Religious, of all kinds 41      
Male   26 12 14
Female   15 7 8

From the fifteenth table, we derive some valuable facts. First. The disparity of cases from intemperance in the different sexes, of the 110 cases from this cause, 93 were males and 17 females, two or three only were delirium tremens.

Of the cases of insanity from intemperance, about 50 per cent recover in this Hospital.

Relapses from recoveries of insanity are not more frequent than from other acute diseases, and are less numerous than we should expect, when we consider that many patients return from the Hospital to the scenes and circumstances connected with the origin of the disease.

If insanity arises from domestic afflictions, the loss of friends, or the reverse of fortune the impressions may be again renewed, when the individual arrives at home. The lost friends are not there, the indications of former prosperity are gone, the discords of domestic strife may be renewed, poverty may again oppress, and intemperance, of all causes of insanity the most likely to be renewed, because temptations are everywhere presented.

Curator Notes

Type: Pamphlet

Exact Title: Fourth annual report of the trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester. December, 1836.
Periodical:
Volume:
Page(s): 59

Year: 1837
Probable Date:

Description:

Author/Creator: State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester

Publisher: Dutton and Wentworth, state printers.
Place of Publication: Boston, Massachusetts

Dimensions: 23 cm.

Materials:

Condition:

Catalog Number: American Antiquarian Society SD Mass. Pams Hosp 1837