Herald Editorial on Allegheny Asylum
- Abandoned Bog Town: The note is located on the metal shelf inside the trailer at the northwest corner of town and inside the police station.
On Eleanor Tarquin's "A Month of Madness"Thursday's Editorial - Printed on March 17, 2061
Allegheny Asylum closes its doors today after intense scrutiny this week following the article. However, Head Doctor Kessle and other hospital administrators have yet to be brought up on any charges as a result. While Tarquin's expose for the Charleston Herald will not soon be forgotten by our readers, much like Nellie Bly's historic investigation of the Women's Lunatic Asylum of Blackwell's Island, it seems that policymakers and officials have wiped their hands of the situation.
Miss Eleanor's diagnosis should bring to light the possibility that many of the asylum patients may have been misdiagnosed and institutionalized without significant presence of mental health issues. She reported that patients were kept restrained for long periods of time in tight confines with other patients. They had breaks from this imprisonment only for treatment, meals, and sleep. Treatment, as described in the original article, was largely forcing patients to be immersed in ice cold water. Basic needs were fulfilled at the lowest possible criteria, with no process for patients to request humane accommodations for things like vegetarian meal plans or additional blankets.
Additionally, her editor had to file multiple times for her release from the institution into his care. This might mean that family members who were willing or able to care for relatives in the facility were left in the cold because they were unable to pay for fees associated with the release procedure. The intent of Miss Eleanor's assignment was to remain in the facility for ten days, but even withy aggressively documented and funded attempts to release her, she remained in the facility for a month.
Of course, the startling thing about this case for me was that any interested individual could pay the hospital for a guided tour of the facility. Ostensibly this was intended for doctors and health professionals, but as Miss Eleanor reported and was later confirmed by staff, this was not always the case. Family members were not allowed to visit patients unless they could pay for this expensive and secretive "Lunatic Tourism" offering, and there was no guarantee that they would be able to see their family member without paying additional fees.
So now the Asylum is closing, and the inmates are being freed. Most of them will end up with family, in other hospitals like Watoga's state of the art facilities, or in halfway houses. However, some of them have no prospect other than adding to the already high amounts of homeless, itinerant workers in the region. The stigma that these patients feel already is huge, because while few of them were sent to Allegheny as violent offenders, we hear endless media coverage about the threat that these patients pose to the region.
I think the real threat to this region are the folks who ran that facility, and yet we see them escaping without stigma. They're a resume away from joining your workforce. An application away from becoming part of your community. Those are the real madmen run amok!