Hospitals and Clinics Undercover

San Francisco Examiner article titled, "A City's Disgrace." Written by Annie Laurie.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Magazine, Newspaper, Book, Television

"The Expose as a Progressive Tool" - Albert Deutsch - Mental Hygiene


". . .What have these exposes accomplished? Have they helped or harmed the drive for improved mental hospitals and expanded mental health facilities? In either case, how can they be made more effective tools of progress? The expose, like the surgeon's scalpel, is a useful, but dangerous instrument. Its application can be constructive or destructive, depending on the user's skill, integreity, sensitivity, and timing. As applied to mental hospital conditions, its development can be traced to two widely divergent trends exemplified by the work of two remarkable women of the past century. . ."

"Undercover Reporter 'Haunted' by Abuse of Patients" - Joe Casey - BBC Panorama

Joe Casey spent five weeks filming undercover in a private care hospital on the outskirts of Bristol after getting a job as a support worker. He was shocked by what he witnessed.


On a near-daily basis, I watched as some of the very people entrusted with the care of society's most vulnerable targeted patients - often, it seemed, for their own amusement. They are scenes of torment that are not easily forgotten.The targets had no way of defending themselves or speaking out. Anyone who questioned the abuse met a wall of silence.

"Denver Undercover Investigation: Dentists With a Dark Side" - Heidi Hemmat - Fox 31 Denver


". . .We went under cover with hidden cameras and found practicing dentists who previously had their license suspended or revoked.Dentists including Larry Haws. According to Colorado dental board records, Haws issued “over 130 prescriptions” for powerful pain killers to himself. He pleaded guilty to drug possession and was asked by the state to surrender his license in 2002. In an effort to get his license back, Haws agreed to random drug testing. But then he tested positive for Benzodiazepines, another powerful tranquilizer. . ."

"A Season in Hell" - Dick J. Reavis - Texas Monthly

At Rusk State Hospital, you're either a criminal or insane. Or both.


". . .Police power at Rusk has shifted from the attendants to sociopathic inmates, who spend most of their time looking for opportunities to maul other patients. . ."

"Bedlam 1946" - Albert Q. Maisel - Life Magazine

Most of U.S. Mental Hospitals Are a Shame and Disgrace


" . . . Thousands spend their days-often for weeks at a stretch-locked in devices euphemistically called 'restraints' : thick leather handcuffs, great canvas camisoles, 'muffs,' 'mitts,' wristlets, locks and straps and restraining sheets. Hundreds are confined in 'lodges' - bare, bed-less rooms reeking with filth and feces - by day lit only through half-inch holes in steel-plated windows, by night merely black tombs in which the cries of the insane echo unheard from the peeling plaster of the walls. . ."

"7 1/2 Days" - Kevin Heldman - City Limits

When Kevin Heldman went undercover at Woodhull’s psychiatric unit, he wanted to experience how low-income people were treated. In 179 hours as a mental patient, he found little care and even less comfort.


"Around 3 a.m., hair uncombed, face unshaven, wearing a few layers of shabby jackets and shirts, I get off the subway outside Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn. I walk into the lobby and tell the hospital police that I'm looking for psychiatric help. An officer is amused, thinking I was brought to the hospital by the NYPD. 'They just dropped you off, huh?' she says. She escorts me to the emergency room. . . ."

"A City's Disgrace" - Annie Laurie - San Francisco Examiner

"Sample of the Civilization of the Nineteenth Century. Brutality of Public Servants. 'The Examiner's' Annie Laurie in the Receiving Hospital."


The precede reads: "After being hauled into a prison van and jolted over the cobbles, she is forced to drink hot mustard water on general principles - the acting police surgeon laughs when he hears about it, and suggests a thrashing to make her take the dose - he bruises her shoulder because she resists his hurting her head, and wants to strip her down." ... "The woman who fainted on the street and was roughly dragged into the vehicle and jolted away over the rough cobbles, was the Examiner's Annie Laurie. She had been sent to write up how a woman unfortunate enough to be taken sick or injured on the public streets of San Francisco in the year of civilization 1890, is treated by those who are paid to care for the unfortunate and suffering. "Had Annie Laurie been run over by a street-car and been cut and mangled the treatment she received would have been just the same. It took twenty minutes for her to reach the hospital, more than time enough for a person to bleed to death from a wound that would not be at all serious if attended to at once..."