Wednesday, November 28, 2007

douglas hospital!!

how many of you took a dare to walk from bannentyne to champlain through the "dougie" (no disrespect intended to the Douglass Hospital) at midnight??? we used to do that and would sit up in the tree's waiting for some unsuspecting sap to walk through and we would jump out and scare the bee-gee-bers out of them..


les__f MSN said...

Hi Habsrule ,.sounds like you had some fun around there,,,,,,,,,,,I got a laugh outta the gum story,.........hahahahah      Welcome to the site,.........  Sounds like you may have a few stories to tell,.So have some fun,..& I'm sure you'll run into some people you know..... If you have some old photo's ,then by all means post them up if you like ,.I'm sure everyone would like to see them.                                                                                                                           HF&RV

theomer MSN said...

Hi, Everyone,   Just a little over 25 years ago I wrote a short story which has the Douglas Hospital as its setting.    "Victor" is 11 pages long, with 1½ line spacing.  I'd be more than happy to send it to anyone who might be interested in reading it.  The story is free to read, no charge.   Just e-mail at and I'll attach it to your e-mail.   Regards to all,   Jack    

cathyart1 MSN said...

a few of my buddies worked at the "Doug"- Andrew henderson played there a few times (worked  there as well)... M and S freaked me out (medical and surgical) could look through a small window and see really,really sad cases all in a common room-a guy came to the window and he was drooling and chewing on a running shoe...amazing how many folks worked there and came out of it somewhat "normal"- It was  a hospital with a bad history years ago.

_____duck MSN said...

I volunteered there in the late sixties.
Here's a bit of background off the net.

History and Heritage
Buildings - Douglas Hospital

Douglas Hospital

Queen Mary in style, through its use of twinned columns and its multiple sets of friezes, this hospital, which was established in 1881, was first known as the Protestant Hospital for the Insane. Its architect was John William Hopkins. Numerous pavilions were added from 1894 to 1905.

In 1923, the last name of the hospital was changed to The Douglas Hospital in honour of Dr. James Douglas, who was its director for 33 years. The hospital’s 170 acres of land, takes up one seventh of the borough of Verdun.

Over the years, the hospital’s innovative style, its internationally ranked staff and its affiliation with McGill University (as McGill University’s teaching hospital) and with the World Health Organization (as a WHO cooperative centre) has helped draw talent.

les__f MSN said...

Here's a photo tour of the old Douglas :                                                                                                                        hf&rv

bfantie MSN said...

I lived in and worked at the Douglas for three years during the late seventies.

I think we should be careful about taking a presentist view of the work or Lehmann, Cameron, and others, which this website seems to be doing. Lehmann is credited with bringing chlorpromazine to North America and starting the psychopharmacological revolution.

Albeit medications are not perfect, but, with these new drugs, Lehmann, and others, were responsible for moving the field of psychiatry away from lobotomies, and the other types of largely random psychotherapy that are mentioned on that web site. The drugs also provided a much needed clue about what the basis of these disorders actually was (e.g., malfunctioning brain systems rather than evil spirits, weak, inferior personalities, or moral character).

And before this so-called "human experimentation," people with severe mental disorders were typically killed, or locked in chains, and put in madhouses as far away from the city as possible and forgotten.

Most importantly, we need to remember that these people were not "experimenting" the way a cruel kid pulls the wings off flies, which this web site seems to suggest. Instead, these were medical professionals who had dedicated their careers to trying to help poor, suffering souls, whom most people would rather forget existed. They were looking for cures for terrible, agonizing disorders and they were desperate to find them. Yes, there were mistakes and errors of judgement, but most of these people were trying to help, not harm. Would it have been better if they had ignored these disorders like the result of the medical profession and the vast majority of the general population did? It certainly would have been easier, safer, and more lucrative. So let's be careful how harshly we judge those who lived in different times lest we be judged similarly.

Imagine 50 years from now when PETA has taken over the world, and the historians use all these postings about steamies, smoked meat, and Bar-B-Barn ribs to point out how cruel and barbaric people were in the early 21st century......

This post hoc judgement of early medical treatments puts me in mind of an episode on Star Trek Classic or one the movies when Bones locks some 20th-century doctors in a closet when they want to operate on Chekov to repair a intracranial bleed.

"My god, man! Drilling holes in his head's not the answer! The artery must be repaired! Now put away your butcher knives and let me save this patient before it's too late!"

Remember, until fairly recently (Queen Victoria's time), all surgery was done without anaesthetics........

Cool that McCoy had that high-pitched electronic gadget that could make brain repairs just by waving it around someone's head. What he forgets, as do the people who published that site, is that these wonderful cures came as a result of the work of those who came before. Desperate situations sometimes require desperate measures.

Just my $0.02.


bfantie MSN said...

Ooops...Just to be clear, by "this web site" I meant the one that was posted in the message I was replying to, not VerdunConnections (which is, as my kids used to say, Awesome!).

Cheers all,


les__f MSN said...

Yes we always have to be aware of the source of any information:........................but I didn't see any other Hospitals named ,& the CIA were closely tied to the 'experiments' & that is common knowledge,which was only released after ,25 years or so,......... always 2 sides to any story,..and while looking for pics of the old Douglas Hospital,.I came across that story,.it's part of the History it seems,................I'm sure there are horror stories related to almost any care facility. Let's hope those are few & far between..........................                  hf&rv

les__f MSN said...

Here's a pile of photos around the Douglas Hospital Grounds,......   I have posted these before ,but I thought it easier to post the link,and not eat up storage space,......lots of pics,......Have a Look,...................                                                                                                                 hf&rv

theomer MSN said...

Well written, Brian, well stated.   Jack

les__f MSN said...

I would agree(Well stated),...... apparently medicine learned alot from the 'eperiments' performed by otherwise law abiding Dr's in Nazi Germany ........perhaps we'll look back & think we were too harsh on them...........Yikes !!!!    Jusy my .02 cents CDN of course finally on par....................................hahahaha  hf&rv

wendythepool MSN said...

Hi there, I was surprized to see all the fence down around the Douglas property when I went home. When did that happen? Wendy

les__f MSN said...

That was part of the propert's mystique, that long black fence surrou8nding the property,..actually wasn't it 'black wrought iron' along the frontage on asalle Blvd, and 'frost' chain link along the avenues (the sides) and nothing that I remember along the Champlain Blvd side ( was there?)  Without the black fence on Lasalle Blvd,.it does make the property,more stately looking,it is certainly a good looking well kept lawn with nice mature trees............( oddly enough,as well kept as it was,I cannot ever Remember seeing anyone actually doing the lawn maintenance) I would bet that fence was worth quite a few bucks ,just in scrap metal prices,especially over the last few years with the price of metal sky rocketing. a guy would have to be ''crazy" not to seel that stuff,..Yup a real nut, if you didn't capitalise on that opportunity,                                                   hf&rv

bfantie MSN said...

Actually. Les F, modern medicine chose not learn anything from the experiments that Nazi doctors performed on healthy people, for many reasons, including that that type of experimentation was not "law-abiding" in any sense of the word. In fact, the Nazi "experiments" caused the world to put into place a large number of oversight mechanisms concerning human experimentation to help protect against such abuses ever happening again, this included refusing to allow any findings from that research to be used.

The doctors I am talking about were operating within the law and standards of ethical practice accepted, not only in their own countries, but across the world. The people receiving their treatments were not healthy prisoners but were patients with severe, life-destroying, more than often agonizing, medical conditions for which nothing could be done. They were not just "experimenting" for the purpose of basic research (or for their own amusement) but were making specific attempts to find therapies that would make the people they were treating better.

The differences are not subtle.


les__f MSN said...

Actually Bryan F (couldn't resist the same start)....hahahaha Actualy Bryan , modern medicine did learn things from the inhuman treatment of healthy prisoners,  There have been many history type programs ,showing different ,things learned,also many inventions came about as well, and mankind would be foolish to,not 'learn' from any possible info. It's nice to just make the statement ,that 'modern medicine' Chose Not to use information,.That would be just plane silly. Everyone in Life would do far better if they learned ,by others experience,if they don't ,as I've mentioned they would be fools. The Douglas Hospital was doing inhumane experiments,( all in the name of good ) ....Btw: while the Nazi's were dunking people in Ocean water repeatedly ,to see the affects of hypothermia, they also learned to make better life jackets ,which in turn led to the survival suits ,.and also Don't forget that many Dr's as well as scientists were allowed to 'switch' over to the USA side of things where they were promptly forgiven,and were allowed to continue their work,not all were of the calibre of Dr Mengle,..were they right to do so..NO, of course not,but should they use the info now,yes of course So much was learned from Nazi's and it was utilised ,.& Not just plainly Ifgnored as you would suggest: I realise you worked in the Douglas, & if you Remember in one post I mentioned ,that the 'good work done ' should Not be overshadowed by the bad,....but to blindly stand in their defence ,( almost like a brand loyalty),is not really right either,but it is an opinion,and your entitled to it. Can't forget the top scientist were also part of the Nazi killing machine: DR Werner Von Braun ,was a great guy after he switched sides,with his team of scientist,......and withouty his knowledge America may not have been to the Moon as soon as the were. ( Just a Thought,) So using 'others' knowledge & findings Was in Fact Done & couldn't quite frankly just be ignored,.so were the 'experiments in the Douglas done' Yes,.were they right No,.but did they learn from them Yes,.and They Used the knowledge that came at the expense of People ,who had no idea what was hapenning to them,.Nor Did they Have a Choice,..........  .Hardly Sounds like Free Will,..................and it certainly wasn't right.                               ...............................Have Fun & Remember Verdun

bfantie MSN said...

Dear Les

I think you've missed the point. Experimental treatments for incurable patients are not the same thing as experimenting for knowledge alone, basic or applied.

For example, in one case we have a doctor charged with the care and treatment of a patient with incurable brain disease. Because all the standard treatments have failed to help, this doctor gives the patient a new, experimental treatment that carries some substantial risk. He knows it is risky, but the choice is the new treatment or do nothing. In another instance, we have a doctor who has a team of soldiers go out and capture a random healthy person upon whom the doctor will perform painful and, most likely, fatal procedures for whatever reason other than the improvement of the condition of the person being treated.

I take it that you cannot see the many differences between these two situations and would call both people heartless Nazi human experimenters?

I think we also need to be careful about using terms like "blindly" and "plane (sic) silly"....particularly when you apparently get most, if not all, your information from web sites.

Unfortunately, much of what you have posted is just wrong factually and, although everyone is entitled to their opinion, that does not make things true that are not. For example, you stated that "no other hospital" was accused of these misdeads according to your sources. But I saw that the site mentioned Dr. Ewen Cameron, who was at the Allan Memorial, not the Douglas. He is probably the poster child for the type presentist retrospective misjudgment that I caution against accepting without more information than the one-sided distortions, innuendo, half-truths, and rumor that some mistake for facts and critical thought.

It would take too much space on this site for me to refute all the misinformation that you have posted, but I would be happy to do so directly, on the back channel, if you or anyone else is interested in continuing the discussion or learning why I think you are mistaken.

Finally, I just don't follow what you were trying to say when you wrote about Free Will (and much of your other comments as well). I think you have too many complicated issues over-simplified and muddled.

The bottom line is that you are making inaccurate (a fact) and, in my opinion, unfair (my personal judgment) criticisms of what happened at the Douglas Hospital. Given how poorly people with psychiatric disorders have been treated through history, and, in general, continue to be mistreated or underserved all over the world, I think Verdunites should take pride in the fact that our community houses an institution that has not only tried, but actually made things better and continues to do so on an international scale. Many of us have worked there, in all manner of jobs, and have had loved ones cared for there as well. You do all an unjust disservice.

I am sorry you feel the way you do.


les__f MSN said...

Hi Bryan ,.we'll have to agree to disagree,Regardless of where one gets there information ( within limits) Reading is the basis ,and the experiments ,and there collected 'data' can be usefull ,even if it's to show 'what not to do' ( but it is read. ) When you study & follow something for most of a carreer ,you can be slanted more so in favour of that source ( which alot of is avaialble on the internet as well,..but Reading does come into play. Knowledge in any case is to be used ( hopefully for the betterment of all) in the case of the Nazi's they were addicted it seems to inflicting pain on anyone they could get away with. So when people Dr's included are not kept in check,to some degree,they may have a tendency to try & justify their personal thoughts or procedures, granted today ( so were told) experiments are usually & again hopefully done on animals & not Humans, .....bottom line is the info collectted, is used or at least considered & pondered as to it's value,but it certainly isn't just cast aside,because ,someone else came up with the idea ( in this case the Nazis).............Noone could ever or hopefully would ever try to justify cruel & inhumane experiments on People, I have no agenda either way,nor am I affiliated with either side,I merely suggest that it 'would certainly be plain silly,to ignore potentially life saving information,but only after having read it. afterall Dr's aren't Pyshic are they?.............. Surely not everything found on the net is untrue is it, ( if it is ,it sure would make a lot of peoples websites very suspect,) any case Bryan ,we agree that reading is good ( don't we)....hahahahaha  & that not all web sites are filled with untruths.......                   Have Fun & Remember Verdun  

the lad MSN said...

Bryan   Just wondering if you have thoughts on Chris Benoit the wrestler who was profiled on the Fifth Estate this week. I know you probably dont get CBC where you are but wondering if you had read any material on this story.   Take care Lad(Expo 67)

bfantie MSN said...

Sorry, Les....I still can't follow your train(s) of thought. You seem to be saying that the more one studies and has direct personal experience in a subject, the more slanted her or his point of view though it's a bad thing.

So, according to your logic, I suppose the less one knows, through lack of knowledge and by relying on misinformation, the more that person knows about a subject.

Yes, Les, I can agree to disagree with you, enthusiastically.


Remember Verdun and Don't Distort Her Legacy

bfantie MSN said...

Hey Lad!

As you know, I now live in that great intellectually isolated southern country that gets very little in the way of news from outside (and inside) its borders. Nothing important really happens anywhere else, does it? Unless, of course, we good ole Americans are there visiting.

The less people know, the easier they are to control, I guess. So, like many canadiens errants, I am in a constant state of news deprivation, especially for what's going on in Canada.

From the little I know, the Chris Benoit case sounds as complicated as lives get. I'd be pretty confident that there was not one factor that was the "real" cause of the tragedy. As much as many of us would like simple answers, I think that when it comes to some things, there just aren't any.

C;est la vie....

Keeping with the theme of this thread, I used to work the night shift (among others) at the Douglas Hospital in the late seventies and would arrive around 11 PM. Often I would come straight from Concordia aboard the 107 and transfer to the 58 bus (Is that right?) or I'd walk from home on 5th Avenue or from Louise's house on Egan.

More than once I had to walk up to Perry Pavilion from LaSalle Blvd across the field in winter through blowing snow and/or sleet. Sometimes it was so cold I could just barely keep myself from lying down in the snow to rest for a minute or two......As they say, if you do that, you think you're getting sleep but you're really getting dead. Anyway, that's one of my salient Verdun memories related to the DH.

Another was being in the underground tunnel system at the DH during a power failure and having to feel my way from Perry to Dobell in blackness so deep it felt like it was pressing against my face.

A more positive memory (or memories) was playing several dances there for the patients with the Blue Haze (popular song....I Think I'm Going' Out of My Head by Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons).

Okay, enough.

I hope you're doing well and the snow stays comfortably below your chin.

Take care,


mudder MSN said...

Bryan your logics on  the experimentations carried out a douglas hospital to me are really illogical. Patients at the hospital were unable to make choices for themselves because of their disability. In my opinion they became the victims of those who were suppose to protect them. Some actions of the medical staff certainly were carried out for their own self purposes at the expense of the most innocent of people. Although you may not have agreed with Les on the points he was attempting to make, your patronizing comments really have no place in a debate. Your beliefs re douglas hospital are yours to own and if others have different opionions  you certainly don't have to agree but you should at least be respectful because after all isn't that the foundation of civilization? 

bfantie MSN said...

Dear Mudder

Given that neither you nor Les have provided any evidence of experiments on patients at the Douglas that were not direct attempts at treating (i.e., helping) those patients specifically, I stand by my original statements. Experimental treatments in the context of acceptable contemporary practice are not the same thing as what the Nazi doctors did in concentration camps. I cannot explain it more simply than I have. Sorry.

I have no idea what you are talking about concerning politeness. After all, I was not the one calling people "silly." I also kept my responses directed to the logic and facts of the case I was making rather than disparaging the motives and background of the person making the argument. If you found my responses patronizing, I think that is your interpretation and there's little I can do about that as I have no idea what you are basing your accusations on.

If you found my argument illogical, I suspect there's little I can do about that as well.

I agree that this is no place for personal attacks. So, please stop, and if you have something to add to the debate rather than the debaters, please do so.


carver3570 MSN said...

carver3570 MSN said...   hope this works Ron.

theomer MSN said...

Hi, Bryan,   I understand your point of view and partially agree with it, as I do with Les and mudder.  Talking about sitting on the fence, eh?   Let me ask you a question, please, if you don't mind ... and this is just a question for debate and not to put you on the spot, all right?   Do you believe that the lobotomies and chemical experiments that have been discussed in these posts crossed a line of ethics in some way, that the Hippocratic Oath of "do no harm" was violated, intentionally or not?   Thanks,   Jack

bfantie MSN said...

On Feb 10, 2008, at 12:13 PM, Ronald Spain wrote:

Again this is out of interest and the source?

Thanks, Ronald

I see the source of the web site is the Church of Scientology. They have an open and well-known beef with psychiatry (e.g., Tom Cruise on the Today Show). So, I'm not surprised by the tone and sensationalistic trappings. The facts are still the facts, no matter how much the packaging tries to distort them.

That being said. the procedures this site describes were not experiments, in the same way those the Nazis did (and almost all the ones cited in that other site you posted were). Heinz Lehmann and Ewen Cameron were trying to find ways to cure (or at least treat) the people upon whom they were performing the "experiments.". There were no good alternatives and they felt that doing something was better than doing nothing, which, of course, could be debated, although chaining these people to walls or beds in the wards of hospitals far from where the general public would have to be reminded they existed seems pretty cruel, inhuman, and unethical to me, if there actually was a way they could be helped and all we had to do was find it. I think these are very different circumstances. The major intent was not to do harm, or even to do something good for nameless others at the expense of the person upon whom they were experimenting (although that was a possible positive outcome that could happen), but rather, the prime mission was to do something for that specific person. Unlike the other experiments, these doctors were operating within the principle of clinical equipoise.

We have to remember what the choices were at the time. What was the accepted standard of care? Lehmann did not invent the lobotomy. Egas Moniz of Portugal did..and he got the Nobel Prize in Medicine for doing so. That says something about whether the things we are talking about were secret, intentionally cruel, inhuman experiments or whether they were on the level of what was being done at that point in history for psychiatric disorders. It also tells us that these treatments were seen as be better and more humane than the traditional treatments. Cutting off a leg without anaesthetic is extremely painful and, on the surface, barbaric, but death by gangrene was no picnic either and, until the discovery of ether, those were the choices.

Moral dilemmas are always complex and difficult, or they wouldn't be dilemmas. Sometimes one needs to break eggs in order to make an omelet and other times people break eggs just for the fun of it. We need to learn the difference. No?

If that makes sense to you, that's all I was trying to say. Judge these people by the appropriate times and circumstances and do not ignore the crucial differences.


I don't think Les (aka hf&rv) has added anything new to the debate other than to repeat and continue the ad hominem attacks and to post more excerpts from questionable web sites. (Not everything one reads on web sites (or anywhere) is true.) Heavy on opinion and "hahahaha"s, light on logic, facts, and substance.

Because I think this "debate" has, without doubt, gone on longer than is appropriate for this site, I will continue any further discussion of these issues with those who might be interested directly.


p.s. I just saw a great quote in the November 6, 2007 issue of PC magazine:

"Opinions worth having are worth putting your name to."

carver3570 MSN said...

My brain hurts. I need a belt.

theomer MSN said...

Les and Bryan, now I agree with you both: time to put it to rest.  It was an interesting, provocative post that generated strong opinions.   Thank you,   Jack

bfantie MSN said...

I guess I was the only person to respond to the original message that started the thread.....about walking through the Douglas grounds......

On that tack, one day I was coming back to the DH from school (I lived on the DH grounds for 3 years, one year in Dobell and 2 in one of the little cottages). Because I wasn't on duty, I was entering via the side entrance off Beurling.

Right after I got off the 112, there was a cloud burst and I ran onto the hospital grounds and up into the shelter of the doorway of the first building I got to. The door was locked, but the door frame overhung enough to block most of the downpour.

A second or two later, a young woman joined me to huddle in the doorway. As the rain continued we started to make small talk.She asked me if I was on my way to work. Without thinking, I just told her the truth, that, no, I was coming home. In a second, I could see the fear in her face and, before I could explain, she had decided to face the rain and was off.

The patients at DH, and those mistaken for them, scared a lot of people. Unjustly, I must say, in my opinion.



winnie3ave MSN said...

Gee. With all the talk about The Douglas....I am almost sorry I quit drinking. I guess we could each have an opinion that differs from all the rest. Give and take, good and bad. I just want to add one thing. Not all the patients in the Douglas are reallt "crazy".   Many years ago I sent my ex-wife there to train as a nurse. She did tell me some stories.   The women especially, would go to a hairdressers and get their hair done. When it came time to pay, they would say they had no money. The police would be called. They would taken them back to the hospital, and there was nothing the busines could do. The reason being was that they "were all crazy". I use to walk the grounds, and it was very peaceful.

johnmelinvin2 MSN said...

hi Bryan..i lived in Crawfordpark , 1943 to 1960, I remember the big black fence, which is no longer there..did you know a Norman Longely that lived there., John

cathyart1 MSN said...

Doug-great comment-I agree wholeheartedly! (from what I read on the Douglas topic....Maybe there should be a new section on this site for  ongoing debates...)?as long as people don't end up being too nasty!

bfantie MSN said...

Hi John

Do you mean in Crawford Park or in the DH? I worked in the hospital from 1975-1978.

...but the name does not ring a bell.



bfantie MSN said...

Dear Cathy

If the more experience and training people have, the less capable of understanding a subject they become, that will certainly revolutionize the entire world's notions of education, apprenticeship, and learning.

The old "forest-trees" bromide is cute, but the one about knowing the difference between one's elbow and a hole in the ground is probably more appropriate. I think there's a similar one about Shinola.

Nevertheless, the "debate" should have stayed focused on the actual subject matter rather than on the participants.


p.s. "Are we rough? Are we tough? We're from Verdun, that's enough!"

....boy, some of us still seem to like a good fight.....

rtmoly MSN said...

Brian   I played there a few times aas well and had some real great time with the some of the patients. also i have swam there with the YMCA . The big black fence was always so dark and eerry at night . does anyone remember that Nancy Campbell lived on the grounds and when the band had an exchange trip up here we had a great party there. as for yours and the others discussion lets leave the personnel comments about each other out and stick with the subject at hand   Roy Molyneux Grad of VHS 69  

maggiemck MSN said...

Today, as an adult, I know that the majority of the patients at "the Douglas" are harmless, at least to others. Growing up I never stepped on the grounds, I was terrified of the "insane" patients. Too bad that one incident can effect a person indefinitely. I guess I missed out.

winnie3ave MSN said...

I knew a person who lived in The Point, and went to The Salvation Army there. He had a wonderful mother and Father, and a sweetheart of a sister. Being a young teen and basically having very little fear, this fellow was released from the Douglas. I personally  was not that aware of the mental problems, or the extent of them. I wont mention his name, but some of you may have known him. Alan Lieshman knew him. He seemed very normal to me, and very mild manner. He became one of our small group. I enjoyed his company and who he was. I never formed an opinion or asked questions about why he had been in that mental hospital. After about 4 months, we had gathered at his parents house, sang some songs that his sister played on the piano./  It was such a great time as our Christian youth group usually had. When I was leaving, he went outside with me to talk. He told me he was going to commit himself back to the Douglas. He seemed normal to me. Whatever normal is. I asked him why, and if he was having a problem. He said no. Because of his past mental problems, no one would hire him. He said he could not allow his parents to support him, because they were financially unable to. He did not want to be a burden to them. What a wonderful, kind, unselfish person he was. He was not "crazy" in my eyes or in my heart!!! Each of us have had struggles. Many of those struggles have been overwhelming, and we have come thru them, although at times we may have felt we were going off the deep end. Anyways, "Happy Trails" to each of us!!!! Life can still be good. Today, tell someone you love them, give them a hug. Even if it is your dog or cat!!!!!

cathyart1 MSN said...

That  wonderful guy-have you ever seen him again? I know from visiting the Douglas MANY times over the expanse of almost 20 years that  a lot of the patients were probably placed there in their youth...deformities,mildly "retarded" as they were  judged...and as years went by,living in the institution they became accustomed to the surroundings and  did become "insane"...who wouldn't if they were in such a place?   I know that there were/are some great doctors there but I know from personal experience that some of the patients were drugged and  quite ignored when they were silenced by the drugs they were given.   Growing up across the street from the hospital gave me many chances to meet and talk to a lot of the "out"patients and I always felt that so many of these folks should have had  somewhere else to go...besides the "asylum".   I can understand why so many people were afraid of the Douglas grounds...I recall hearing screams and moans coming from behind the walls...even  across to the boardwalk where I walked my dogs....and when i took the shortcut to Stevens(spl) and then to Rolland to get home.  

stephenfredmond MSN said...

I worked at the Douglas in the Dietary Department from 1966 to 1972 and the patients worked a long side of us.I had pictures of the Douglas in my photos but strangely disappeared.Popdog's mother worked there also,even after I left,she also voluntered there.There has been too many good stories over the years,but alas you only hear the bad ones.B.Fanti I also worked with your dad at Benjamin News Steve

gpilon MSN said...

My mother did volunteer work at the Douglas for what seemed like an eternity. It was amazing to see how she interacted with the patients, and even more amazing to see how much the patients appreciated and respected all the volunteers. Through my mother, I also did a ton of volunteer work there beginning at a very young age. Although there were quite a few sad stories, there are also some terrific memories of the "Dougie".   Glen

stephenfredmond MSN said...

Here's an old map of the Douglas(Verdun Protesent Hospital) Queen Mary in style, through its use of twinned columns and its multiple sets of friezes, this hospital, which was established in 1881, was first known as the Protestant Hospital for the Insane. Its architect was John William Hopkins. Numerous pavilions were added from 1894 to 1905. In 1923, the last name of the hospital was changed to The Douglas Hospital in honour of Dr. James Douglas, who was its director for 33 years. The hospital’s 170 acres of land, takes up one seventh of the borough of Verdun. 6875 boulevard LaSalle  Perry Pavillion or the main Building Steve

stephenfredmond MSN said...

More pictures of The Douglas Hospital Steve

i12cyrbvr MSN said...

I also worked at the Douglas for a time just after the strike. I started as a cleaner, worked some of the lock up wards and then when they opened the Francophone section I started as a preposee aux malade and then as the ward clerk. I was the only Anglo in the department and they used to laugh at my reports because I write French like it sounds. Some of the staff were crazier then the patients but I can see that it takes a special kind of person to work in an environment like that and Im not one of them. The things that some of the staff did to the patients would not be tolerated today.

shirleyb-h MSN said...

Steve I also worked one summer at Benjamin News with Mr Fanti - in fact my brothers-in-law worked there for years all driving trucks.  Normand, Raymond and Jean Guy Latour.  

shirleyb-h MSN said...

By the way the Douglas Hospital wasnt just for the insane or those suffering Mental breakdowns.  It was also where those who had a brain injury were sent.  I know of someone who worked for the CNR in the 40s as a millwright - he had an accident at work whacking his head on an overhead pipe that rendered him unconscious and he was not discovered for hours.  He suffered brain injury and spent many years in the Douglas.

winnie3ave MSN said...

cathy. No I did not see that guy again. We lost contact with many of the people we knew when we were going to The Salvation Army in The Point. We ended up going to to one in Verdun on Willibrod.

popdog0 MSN said...

hi- steve

yes, the douglas hospital, employed many veduners
back then, it was good pay, better than the sweat shops
on st patrick st, or working at dosco steel, etc.
mom worked there over 50 years and later voluntered.
they supplied uniforms, discount lunch meals, pensions.
back then they had a doctors for employees for medical checkups.
over 25 years ago, they found breast cancer, mom was
sent asp to the montreal general hospital.
today my mom is still active in her 80's, if it wasn't for
those yearly check ups for the employees.
as for as i know, the patients were treated very well
for the majority of workers were verduners

winnie3ave MSN said...

Now that is one of the facts we never heard about the Douglas.  Talking care of the employees medical issues,  on the job. Good one!!!!