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Mental Disease in Peru

Nature volume 145, page 144 (27 January 1940) | Download Citation



IN a recent paper (Amer. J. Psychiat., 96, 403; 1939) Dr. Horatio M. Pollock states that the care of the mentally sick in Peru has gone through a series of progressive stages similar to that in the development of psychiatric science in the United States. A long period of neglect was succeeded by one of inadequate care in almshouses or asylums, which in turn was followed by so-called hospital care with some degree of medical attention, and finally scientific treatment in a modern hospital. The first hospital treatment for mental patients in Peru was provided in the seventeenth century in two general hospitals at Lima, one being St. Andrew's Hospital for men and the other the St. Anne's Hospital for women. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century the special section in the St. Andrew's Hospital became an independent unit with a special physician to look after the patients, and in 1859 a new building named "Hospital de la Misericordia" for mental patients was opened in the outskirts of Lima with accommodation for 160 patients. It was divided into four sections, respectively for quiet cases, those periodically disturbed, mental defectives and epileptics, and violent cases.

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