Report of Trip to Norristown State Hospital
“Dr. Ley took me to certain buildings and showed me overcrowded conditions. Many men in one building were sleeping in the hallways. One attendant had 250 patients on the night shift. Dr. Ley himself has 800 patients by actual count under his care. He said that overcrowding is worse at this hospital than in many slums and his studies convince him that the incidence of tuberculosis among mental patients runs five or six times as high as the average population. In some cases even more than that. He has made some researches on TB among mental patients that may some time be published. He believes that patients actually starve to death for lack of attendant care. At the unit meeting the men commented on the firetrap conditions. I noticed that Dr. Ley’s keys often would not fit well as he opened doors and he said that in case of fire he would be at loss to see how many doors could be unlocked and patients evicted. At the unit meeting remarks were made also about lack of plumbing facilities in certain wards. Also, the new buildings are poorly venilated [sic] and in summer time conditions are almost unbearable for patients and attendants. Worker patients are forced to work in the ash pit of the heating plant amid smoke and hot coals that make the employees refuse to work there themselves. I understand patients are injured and burned in this operation sometimes.”
--Taken from "Miscellaneous Corr., 1946," folder 29, series IX-6-3. MCC Records Collection, Akron, PA.