Thursday, 8 March 2012

Schizophrenia in Harvard in 1980

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Summer of 1980, a famous psychiatric hospital in the Harvard group, I was a medical student on a four week elective from Newcastle.

As usual, I asked the doctor in charge of the ward if I could interview a patient to discuss their condition - diagnosis, schizophrenia.

Answer: no you can't speak with him.

Pause.

You can't speak with him becuase he is paranoid, and you are a man; and paranoia is a fear of homosexual rape, so no male staff are allowed to speak with him.

Me - staring ahead, mouth open, groping for something to say. I could think of nothing to say.

Conversation ended.

This was 1980, Harvard Medical School - paranoia due to fear of homosexual rape?!

(Facepalm).