A little history on patient dumping

Published: Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 - 7:03 pm

Re "Patient Dumping Isn't New" (Letters, March 2): Letter writer Bev Messner raises an important issue concerning the displacement of the mentally ill.

A bit of reflection reveals that deinstitutionalization had its intellectual and altruistic roots in President John F. Kennedy's "least restrictive" legislation. That development, tempered by concomitant existential qualms regarding institutionalization, and the powerful Lanterman-Petris Short Act s sealed the trajectory of the mentally ill into the communities.

Dumping? It wasn't deemed that at the time; liberation was the word Dr. Thomas Szasz and his colleagues employed. -- Kathryn Karrer, Sacramento

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