Deficits in Care

James McLaughlin

Inspectors regularly toured the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, and generally found the buildings in order. Even non-medical men, however, could see early on that the institution wasn’t really fulfilling its purpose. A report by James McLaughlin in 1910 says: “The present facilities for care of the insane patients meet requirements as to baths, meals and sleeping accommodations, but for the proper treatment of those who might be benefited by some special course, there are no facilities.”

By this time, Dr. Turner had resigned from his duties at the asylum and his replacement, Dr. Hardin, had also resigned. Superintendent Dr. Harry Hummer was the only medical person on staff–the same situation Dr. Turner had been in under the asylum’s first superintendent. However, Dr. Hummer had to run the asylum as well as provide medical care, since the assistant superintendent’s position was never subsequently filled. Even though Dr. Turner’s attempts at psychiatric care had been modest at best, Dr. Hummer apparently let even these small efforts go by the wayside.

Meeting of the Medical Staff, Kankakee Mental Hospital, circa 1910

Psychiatric Patients in Steam Cabinets, circa 1910, courtesy American Psychiatric Association Archives

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