The director of this psychiatric hospital between 1907 and 1930 named Dr. Henry Cotton had a very progressive attitude toward care for his patients. He developed a dangerous theory about mental illness, one that turned his hospital into a house of horrors.
After it was confirmed in 1913 that the spirochaete that causes syphilis can cause the disease’s psychiatric symptoms, Cotton began to suspect that all mental illness was caused by bodily infections, and that the only way to cure the patient was to remove the offending infection. In 1917, he began removing his patients’ teeth, even in cases where X-Rays showed no evidence of infection. He soon moved on to other body parts: gall bladder, stomachs, ovaries, testicles, tracts of colon, uteruses. Cotton claimed a cure rate of 85%, but in reality, his surgeries had an unconscionably high mortality rate.