Thursday, May 17, 2018

A History of the Wayne County Infirmary, Psychiatric & General Hospital

The Death of Superintendent Thomas K. Gruber

Detroit Free Press, August 8, 1949
The accomplishments of Dr. Thomas K. Gruber at Eloise were many but I don't think the use of insulin and metrazol were among them. Otherwise this notice of his death mainly deals with his previous positions at Cleveland, Rochester, New York, and Harper and Receiving Hospitals in Detroit. He was born and educated in Ohio.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dr. Bennett Dies Suddenly

Detroit Free Press, April 7, 1929
Dr. Joseph E. Bennett had the benefit of seeing Eloise from all angles while growing up there as a child when his father served as Superintendent between 1881 and 1900. He came back under the watch of Dr. John J. Marker who succeeded his father and was the younger Bennett's roommate at the University of Michigan. Upon Marker's death at the hand of the dreaded train in 1921, Bennett took over the institution leading it until his death in 1929.

His death was fairly dramatic as he suffered a heart attack and while being attended to by Dr. Squires was hit with a second fatal episode, dying on a couch in the hallway of his quarters. Bennett's successor, the great Thomas K. Gruber, also died of a heart attack on the grounds in 1949.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Heads Hospital

Detroit Free Press, September 25, 1949
I know that hardly anybody is concerned about the chain of succession at Eloise but since I've rehashed the passing of the torch from Bennett to Marker to Bennett to Gruber in the past few posts, I might as well mention the latter's replacement, Dr. Roland M. Athay. He was previously the Supt. at the William J. Seymour Hospital (the general hospital at Eloise before WCGH) and the medical supt. at the time of Gruber's death. I haven't looked into Athay beyond this so I can't comment on his reign or character.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Insanity Defense Called Subterfuge

Detroit Free Press, April 18, 1939
In 1939 when Dr. Martin H. Hoffman, esteemed psychiatrist and clinical director of Eloise, told a group of 250 doctors and lawyers at the DIA that there was no such thing as temporary insanity he must have had amnesia. Because just a mere fourteen months earlier he had helped murderer Margaret Tack elude justice in the slaying of her boyfriend:

The Escanaba Daily Press, February 15, 1938
Detroit Free Press, February 11, 1938
While the excerpt from a large article below gives Hoffman some wiggle room on the temporary insanity proclamation it's only because of semantics in the wording of the reporter that leaves doubt on his view:

Detroit Free Press, February 13, 1938
His words in this fragment from another larger article a few days before specify his position as being that Miss Tack, "was not able to tell right from wrong."

Port Huron Times Herald, February 11, 1938
So, he was either paid off to lie or he flip-flopped. The latter is the more noble of the two as he could have become enlightened in the year or so between the two events. Though his previous record suggests that he might have just been a publicity monger or his judgement was faulty. In the case of Shirley Tapp it proved the latter:

The Reading Eagle, January 14, 1936
Tapp claimed to have gone into several religious trances in 1936 and the years following. The first was likely induced by the fact that she was hiding a pregnancy with her boyfriend and the others were resultant of the success of her previous attention-seeking endeavor. Hoffman believed that she was in a hysterical religious fervor because she had been psychologically hypnotized by her sect into believing such things possible. As he predicted, she woke up the next day as was prophesied by her congregation. What he should have said was, "Get up or you're going to Eloise." That or her parents were for allowing the charade.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Plight of the Sick at Eloise Deplored

Detroit Free Press, December 17, 1936
TB among the mental patients was apparently an epidemic because at least 5% of them had the disease when testing commenced in 1936. With only two nurses at the disposal of the staff for the isolated inmates of the psych ward inadequate care was the norm. Dr. Hoffman called it "a shame and disgrace." Just not as shameful as his own flip-flopping on temporary insanity or his diagnosis of Shirley Tapp's supposed hysterical twilight state when she pretended to be in a religious trance for a week. But I digress.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

County House Inmate Is Killed By Train

Detroit Free Press, July 23, 1910
I would venture to guess that somebody was killed at the Eloise site by train at least once a year for nearly a hundred years straight, maybe more. And in that time nobody thought of some sort of remedy to correct the issue? Unbelievable.

Regardless, Charles Youngere, 79-years-old and 11 years a charge at the County House, was killed by a Michigan Central train on July 22, 1910. He had been out for his daily walk and apparently misjudged the speed of the passenger train.