PAALLEGH-L ArchivesArchiver > PAALLEGH > 2006-09 > 1158675204
From: "Jeannine" <>
Subject: Re: [PAALLEGH] question on "institutions"
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 10:13:24 -0400
Thank you, Judy. That was sad, but very informative. I know that Mayview
underwent some major renovations- buildings closed, new ones built, old ones
torn down... Do you happen to know about when this occurred? I have another
relative from my dad's side who died in Mayview. The death certificate has
so many "unknowns" on it that it left one to wonder about the quality of
care and what really happened there. I think he died in the 40's.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Judy Florian" <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 7:13 AM
Subject: Re: [PAALLEGH] question on "institutions"
> Remember that in the late 1800 s & early 1900s, people were often confined
> to "mental hospitals" for anything and everything including::
> mental retardation -- still have cottages at Mayview
> delirum - example, delirium induced by high fever (brain fever) that
> the brain
> any brain disorder, like dementia
> brain disorder due to syphllis -- very very very common pre-1950 -- before
> pencillian was widely used to treat and stop syphllis before it affected
> brain. Many were African American.
> hydrocephalas (water on the brain) or any disease process that caused
> injury--including accidents and falls
> alcoholism and the brain effects from long-term alcoholism
> contagious diseases
> any maladaptive behavior
> behavior not acceptable to family
> behavior not acceptable to society
> being elderly but "too hard" to care for at home - too hard to care for
> have been because of behavior OR because family didn't WANT to be bothered
> having no family to care for them
> Under the buildings at Mayview State Hospital were (still ARE there) are
> long tunnels that connected the buildings - used in bad weather by the
> Staff. But also in some tunnel / underground sections some patients who
> were uncontrollable HAD been chained to the walls in the past (others said
> this was into the 1900s). The conditions of most state mental hospitals
> were primitive and understaffed (still understaffed today). Treatments
> included some of the horrors we only read about today. I worked with
> several elderly patients who had had lobotomies.
> Most of the buildings at Mayview are still pretty close structurally as in
> the past. Most buildings are still locked wards except the cottages.
> Locked buildings have grills on the windows. The place looks and feels
> foreboding and oppressive-feeling. The long term units are typically 2
> (long) floors with a right and left "side" or wing. It used to take me an
> hour to complete the walk through one side of one floor for rounds and
> finish the other side of the floor. Mind you, "rounds" are only walking
> entire length of the floor to make visual contact of the patient at night,
> not to do treatment or meds. Meds for 1 floor could take 1 to 2 hours to
> complete - first hour preparing the med trays & the 2 hour administering
> Both wings of each floor have one large day room where patients are from
> early morning to dinner. Many sit in large Geri chairs that have locked
> trays so they can't get up unless they slide out. The sliders are put
> a type of bib-jacket that have ties in the back so they are literally tied
> into the chairs (arms / hands free to move, but they can only lean forward
> *little*). Can you imagine having to sit UP ALL DAY, holding your head UP
> even when you are tired?? They can't even rest their head on the tray
> unless the wrap is tied loosely. Many people have urinary catheters.
> patients cannot walk after years of simply not being up to walk.
> When in-patients experience medical problems they are treated in Mayview,
> not usually sent to community hospitals unless they need surgery. I
> see many patients sent out for any treatment.
> The "acute" building was a little more modern but not much. It has
> Many people in the 1980s who were elderly then had been in Mayview since
> they were *children* -- as CHILDREN -- it used to make me cry to think
> some of the mentally retarded or originally ill-behaved persons had spent
> their entire lives in locked or restricted units and showed the effects
> "institutionalization" so badly that they could never leave (until they
> die). Charts showed many of the old terminology for diseases that were
> used by even 1950. Most patients had some form of medical brain injury,
> dementia, mentaly retarded, or schizophrenia. Many had tardive dyskinesia
> side effects after decades of anti-psychotic medications. One 30-yr old
> tardive symptoms within 5 years of admission and being on meds for
> I'm giving this information so that listers understand that if they find
> their family in a "mental hospital" in the past to NOT assume they had a
> mental illness. One of my family had brain fever in the late 1800s and
> put in the county home where she died before age 25. Some institutions
> so full of disease that many people died from acquired disease rather than
> dying from the original problem that caused their institutionalization.
> In addition to Mayview, western PA has Torrance State Mental Hospital.
> Hope this info expands your searches with new info.
> a former Mayview Registered Nurse
> On 9/18/06, Connie Burkett <> wrote:
>> Mayview State Hospital is still in operation. Here's a web-page about it.
>> If you
>> scroll down near the bottom, it has a paragraph about the history of the
>> -----Original Message-----
>> Behalf Of Jeannine
>> Sent: Monday, September 18, 2006 8:11 PM
>> Subject: Re: [PAALLEGH] question on "institutions"
>> It says Mayview, Pittsburgh City Homes and Hospitals, and along the side
>> it says
>> "Home for Aged-Males".
>> ~PRIMARY NAMES: ANTHONY, BAKER, FLOWERS, LANE, SEPTER~
>> Washington Co PA free Websites:
>> County Coordinator for http://www.rootsweb.com/~pawashin/
>> Researchers of Washington County PA, join our map:
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message
|Re: [PAALLEGH] question on "institutions" by "Jeannine" <>|