Slaughterhouse inspired 'barbaric' use of ECT
Sir - I am writing having read the article 'Inhumane' shock therapy is on rise (SI, 29/10/06).
Dr Michael Corry, a consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine in Dun Laoghaire, has rightly described electric shock treatment or ECT as 'barbaric'. While other psychiatrists and other mental health professionals may attempt to extol the virtues of ECT, all they are doing is deceptively cloaking a brutal so-called 'treatment' in medical legitimacy.
Few are aware that a Rome slaughterhouse inspired this so-called scientific procedure. In 1938, psychiatrist Ugo Cerletti observed butchers incapacitating pigs with electric shocks to render them more docile prior to slitting their throats. Inspired, Cerletti conducted further experiments on pigs, finally concluding that "these clear proofs caused all my doubts to vanish, and without more ado I gave instructions in the clinic to undertake, next day, the experiment upon man".