This is a continuation of the interview with Dr. Roy Moss by Karen Brewster on October 27, 2010 at the historic Santa Maria Inn in Santa Maria, California.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Alaska Mental Health Trust History
Date of Interview: Oct 27, 2010
Narrator(s): Dr. Roy Moss
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Carol McCue
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: The roles of the nurses, psychiatrists and medical doctors at Morningside Hospital and how the facility operated.
Section 2: The management of Morningside Hospital, it going into debt, and his role in developing a speaker series to drum up local interest in and support for sending patients to Morningside.
Section 3: Henry Coe’s management of Morningside Hospital, his interest in medicine and patient care, and the socializing that occurred amongst the staff members.
Section 4: The relationship staff had with patients, stories about particular patients, and how well Alaskan patients adjusted to life in an institution and the transition from their remote village.
Section 5: What happens when a patient dies.
Section 6: Assessment of the quality of patient care at Morningside Hospital, potential for patient abuse, and lack of knowledge of Congressional investigation of the facility.
Section 7: His work after leaving Morningside Hospital in 1966, the impact his work at Morningside on the rest of his career, and the need for objectivity, focus and balance when practicing psychiatry.
Section 8: Successful use of medication to treat patients, his family's visits to Morningside, and celebrations with patients like 4th of July and Christmas.
Section 9: His work as acting head of psychiatry at Morningside and difference in treating patients at an open facility versus a lock-down one for criminals.
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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. We should be back on. And so we were just talking about a couple of the nurses.
DR. ROY MOSS: Uh‑hum.
KAREN BREWSTER: And so that made me think about the relationships between, you know, the staff, how the nurses and the doctors got along and how people got along with the patients, how the patients got along with each other, and how all that kind of worked.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, the ‑‑ the nurses wore nurses uniforms in those days, and they acted like nurses. They gave medications and took nursing, as I said, a nurturing kind of approach. They weren't therapists, per se, but a lot of them had a calming influence if they ‑‑ they got to know the patients and they, I think, had a calming influence on some of them.
And sometimes they didn't, but there weren't that many, I can't remember exactly how many. Of course, they rotated, too. I don't think they had nurses on duty on all the shifts. I think just mostly in the day.
KAREN BREWSTER: What about doctors? Was there a doctor on call overnight?
DR. ROY MOSS: Every night, yeah, there would have to be somebody on call. And we stayed there in a little room. They also had a ‑‑ a medical doctor on call for medical situations.
Charles Martinson was the one that I remember. And they did call us during the night for sedation orders or just to report something.
Let's see. I should mention another person that I didn't mention, it's Dorothy Mickelson, spelled the same way as Phil Mickelson. She was the business manager and she had a very important role in ‑‑ in the business management, and I don't know if she has any family, but ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Can you talk a little bit about the management? Do you know how that worked, what she did?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they kept books, of course, you know, income and ‑‑ and I don't know how that ‑‑ what they ‑‑ whether they had a certain amount for each individual patient, or I think that was the case, plus probably additional money for equipment and material and I don't know about the farm.
I think maybe that ‑‑ well, that was part of the operation, and I ‑‑ but I don't know if the State of Alaska was sponsoring that or not. Although as I said, initially for some long time, they provided much of the food.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did they ever sell any of the crops or the meat?
DR. ROY MOSS: I don't know. It must have ultimately got disposed of somehow.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, but while they were growing them for themselves, did they ever ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ have extra and they sold it off or ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: I don't think so, but I don't know.
KAREN BREWSTER: It was just being used on the premises?
DR. ROY MOSS: I don't know. Yeah. I don't know.
I'm not sure exactly what they grew, either, but it was the usual, I think. Of course, this is Oregon, you know, they don't have great weather, but they had cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower and that type, onions and potatoes.
Section 2: KAREN BREWSTER: So how was the place managed?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they ‑‑ I presume, I don't know. I ‑‑ I presume that they got money from Alaska, and they spent it around on the various things. They had to account for it somehow.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did it seem well managed, or in terms of how it was operating?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, when it was under the Alaska, they always had a profit, I think. And I ‑‑ I don't understand how that worked, or maybe they didn't have a profit, but they used all the money. They didn't send any back, I don't believe.
As far as afterwards, they ‑‑ they didn't make a profit, and they were going into debt. I mean, that's why they ultimately had to sell it, that it was not profitable. We didn't get enough patients from the local community, and still had to maintain the staff, so at some point, it was going into deficit, and sooner or later, they had to sell it.
And I don't know about that, the sale, whatever.
Henry Coe was ‑‑ well, Wayne basically was kind of out of it, and Henry was directing it with Dorothy Mickelson's assistance, and then he divorced his wife, and there was a woman that worked there, she was sort of a personnel or publicity thing, Lori ‑‑ I think Bogan (phonetic) was her name at the time, and he married her.
And then he ‑‑ he died at some point, and I ‑‑ I can't tell you exactly when that was, whether it was after the place ‑‑ I think it was after it closed, I heard about it. So I don't know what happened, but Henry had a family, and I can't remember his wife's name, but they were fairly prominent in Portland, and he had several children.
KAREN BREWSTER: What did the Coes do to try and keep the place going or keep it open, or did they do anything?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they tried to get good people, and we got Charles Jones and Wendell Hutchens, and we brought speakers in. I was in charge of that. I brought some speakers in to ‑‑ famous people to speak.
We had a regular ‑‑ not a regular, but we ‑‑ several times a year we brought in speakers. They had an auditorium, and we got people interested in ‑‑ and I may have had dinners with the local psychiatrist, get them to want to send people, but that didn't pan out too well.
KAREN BREWSTER: So who were some of the speakers?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I remember it was Hans Selye from ‑‑ oh, the famous author of the ‑‑ oh, I can't remember the name of it ‑‑ stress.
He ‑‑ he originally developed that stress ‑‑ the stress ‑‑ the general adaptation syndrome, so‑called, in which had to do with ‑‑ with the development of cortisone, basically, which is a very important medication.
And we had a psychiatrist who ‑‑ Maurine Neuberger was the Governor of Oregon, and her husband was a psychiatrist. Her second husband. She was married to Richard Neuberger who was the Senator before she ‑‑ she took his place basically in the Senate. And she married a psychiatrist from the East; I can't remember his name, though. That was a couple of them.
KAREN BREWSTER: So the speaker series was on topics related to psychiatry?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, general interest, in a way. This Selye, for instance, was Canadian, we brought him down from Montreal.
KAREN BREWSTER: So who was the audience you were trying to attract?
DR. ROY MOSS: People interested in medicine and ‑‑ and in psychiatry.
KAREN BREWSTER: And people in the community?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. And that's what the Lori was trying to do was to round up local interest in sending patients to Morningside.
Section 3: KAREN BREWSTER: So you had mentioned that you socialized with Henry Coe. We haven't talked about what he was like, and ‑‑ as a person, and his role in this operation.
DR. ROY MOSS: Henry was really interested in the patient's welfare. He ‑‑ he took it very seriously. He tried to find out everything he could about the treatment, how it worked, if it worked.
And much in favor of liberal care, of using very little restraint and various other therapies. I'd say he was quite active in ‑‑ he sat in on a lot of our meetings, and I ‑‑ I guess that ‑‑ well, I ‑‑ I think it was ‑‑ wasn't privileged information, that I know of.
Socially, he drank a lot, and so did Wayne. And that I saw personally, but it didn't seem to affect him was the interesting thing. You couldn't tell if he had had anything to drink.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did you see it affect anything on the job?
DR. ROY MOSS: No. Not that was surprising. He seemed perfectly rational. I'm not going to say anymore.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: But I didn't ‑‑ I didn't seem to.
Now, with Wayne, it was a little different, because he wasn't really active in the management.
They were business people, primarily, but Henry was more interested in ‑‑ in the medical part than Wayne. I think Wayne was pretty strictly a businessman. He wanted to see that the ‑‑ they ran it profitably, and so forth. And I guess he did a good job at that.
Henry, I think, wanted to be a doctor, but he ‑‑ I don't know the reasons for that. And I can't remember where he went to school. I think he went to an Ivy League school of some kind, but I'm not sure.
KAREN BREWSTER: Was there a lot of socializing with the staff and ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Some. Well, some people became quite good friends.
It was a ‑‑ kind of a close‑knit group there. Like, I was good friends with Bob Furchner, we used to play golf together, Morris Bowerman, and Leola (phonetic).
KAREN BREWSTER: Did you all live on the grounds?
DR. ROY MOSS: No. No, only Bill Teutsch lived there, and that was not for too long because he was sick and he couldn't walk very far. And they accommodated him on that score. No, the rest of us only stayed when we were on call.
Section 4: KAREN BREWSTER: And then how did the patients get along with each other and with you as staff?
DR. ROY MOSS: I'd say pretty well, really. There wasn't a lot of friction particularly. Some of them would rant a bit, but it didn't seem to make a huge difference.
By "rant," there was one guy in particular, he ‑‑ he would sort of be around, and I'm not sure what his duties were, but he ‑‑ some of ‑‑ most of what his speech was unintelligible, but he kept talking about the White House.
And apparently what he was referring to was the administration building, which was a white house, but he had that confused with The White House, and somehow in his thinking, they were connected, so he was always talking about you're doing things at the White House, I know about it, and whatever. That would be like ranting.
And we had an interesting epi ‑‑ I think I mentioned that, James, this one man who was a ‑‑ he had killed somebody, apparently, over some kind of political disagreement. I don't know the exact detail, but he would ‑‑ he was quite paranoid, he would always talk about the government doing this and doing that and so forth, and he was very attuned to the television and things that were going on.
And the day that Kennedy got shot, he dropped dead, right there on the spot in the unit. And I didn't see him fall, but I had to go and check him, that was what they said.
KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DR. ROY MOSS: Strange occurrence. He was really wrapped up in that political, the...
KAREN BREWSTER: So it's ‑‑ how much were you around the Alaska patients, and how much can you talk about how they seemed to adjust to being there?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they ‑‑ this was like home to them, it seemed to me. I was around them for a certain amount of the day. I would, like I say, do rounds, and then I would talk to some of them and especially ones having some problems. We also used hypnosis, by the way.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DR. ROY MOSS: We were ‑‑ several of us were interested in hypnosis, and we tried various things, mostly to calm them down. We had a ‑‑ an interesting thing was Bob Furchner ‑‑ well, both of us, actually, we had a hypnosis group, we took a bunch of patients and had them go to one of the empty units, this was after some of the people had gone,
but we used some of the chronic patients, as well as some of the private patients and had them go in these empty bunks, which had mattresses, and do a group hypnosis. And they were instructed after they were done to say it's a nice morning or good morning or something like that. And they mostly did that, even the paranoids.
Whether it helped or not, it ‑‑ we don't know, but we ran that for a while. So we tried various things of that sort, which I think helped some people, at least to calm them down.
We weren't, you know, that close to them. We didn't do a lot of individual work with them, but a few that were selected. But they seemed to be pretty content, for the most part, just going about their business, or ‑‑ or non‑business.
KAREN BREWSTER: And as you say, when you were there, you weren't getting new Alaska patients.
DR. ROY MOSS: No.
KAREN BREWSTER: You were working with the ones that had been there for ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, a long time, and they were pretty well adjusted to the situation. I think they were institutionalized. It would be hard for them to make their way outside. I think they'd grown accustomed to that.
And it wasn't too bad in a lot of ways. They had quite a bit of freedom, if they were well behaved, to be on the grounds, and to even some to go to town. And there wasn't a Mall 205, of course. That superseded it. But ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: For some of them, they came from very remote, small villages ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ with very different lifestyles.
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: I'm wondering how they made that transition.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they were mentally ill, so I don't know.
I remember this one fellow, and he was ‑‑ he was a difficult management patient, we spent a lot of time trying to help him, but he ‑‑ he was up from way up, I don't know if it was Barrow or Nome, I think, somewhere out there, he was ‑‑ and he ‑‑ he went out in a ‑‑ in a canoe out in the bay, or whatever it was there, and he just sat there in a catatonic state until somebody finally realized he was there.
They brought him back, he was pretty frozen, and he was in this catatonic state. And he became sort of a ‑‑ everybody's, how do you say that, pet ‑‑ not a pet ‑‑ yeah. Something like that. Everyone tried to help him out. But he was pretty refractory to treatment.
He stayed pretty catatonic. He did a little better after he wasn't aggressive, after he was on medication. He had trouble with the medication, side effects and such.
So some of them from the remote communities had a harder time, I think. They didn't want to be there. But so many mental patients say they don't want to be there that ‑‑ in their own community, and then you open the door and let them go out, they don't know what to do.
Like we've seen that here in the homeless people, they ‑‑ would he be adjusted to get in the canoe and just go out there? Well, that's what some of the old people used to do. Or maybe they still do, I don't know.
KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know.
Section 5: KAREN BREWSTER: I was wondering, while you worked there, did patients die while you were there?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: And how was that handled and what happened?
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, I don't know. If we were there, I told you this one guy, he just dropped dead and couldn't resuscitate him. Called the regular physician and tried to do CPR, it was too late. I don't know what ‑‑ what they did with him.
KAREN BREWSTER: You don't know what happened?
DR. ROY MOSS: Went to ‑‑ went to the mortuary.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know, yeah, what they did with the bodies?
DR. ROY MOSS: Huh‑uh. No, I don't.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, you mentioned to me earlier that you think they used local mortuary services?
DR. ROY MOSS: That's what I understood, that they were sending them to the local mortuary.
I don't know how many we had of deaths during that time. This was one of the rather startling ones, but there were some others that just died of intercurrent illnesses. We had a medical unit and some of them very ill in there. And sometimes they send them into ‑‑ into a private regular hospital, and they may have died there. So I ‑‑ I can't remember.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did relationships ever develop between male and female patients?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, I think so. I can't tell you the extent of it. They were not in the same ‑‑ it wasn't ‑‑ they had separate units, male and female.
I think they discouraged that, but there ‑‑ there was, what do you call it, fraternizing, there was that to some extent, but they tried to discourage other. I'm sure that some went on surreptitiously, but I don't know of any particular instances. Did we have any pregnancies there? I ‑‑ I can't remember. Not that I can remember.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you ‑‑ you mentioned that your first impression of Morningside, you know, is this farm, and compared to the Oregon State Hospital. Was Morningside typical as an institution, or it was an unusual ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: It was different, really. Because of its ‑‑ the way it was developed and ‑‑ and run, it was not like the ‑‑ the usual state facility. At least that's my ‑‑ and I've been to several different ones, and so I had a chance to compare.
Section 6: KAREN BREWSTER: So did you have an assessment of Morningside in terms of the quality of care and what it was like?
DR. ROY MOSS: I'd say it was adequate. I ‑‑ I don't think that ‑‑ now, you mentioned that there was some kind of a lawsuit, and I don't know what that was about.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, the lawsuit was later. That was for the State of Alaska and ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Having to do with the ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: With the ‑‑ it was the Mental Health Trust. When the state became a state in 1950 ‑‑ no, it was 1956, Mental Health Trust Enabling Act, the state was given authority, and they were sued over mismanagement of that program.
DR. ROY MOSS: Of the ‑‑ of the funds or of the program?
KAREN BREWSTER: Of the funds.
DR. ROY MOSS: As far as the patients, there may ‑‑ when I ‑‑ in the earlier days, there may have been some not so good treatment. I didn't see much of that when I was there.
I say that because I ‑‑ I don't ‑‑ well, stories that some of the older ‑‑ like the psychiatric aides or technicians, whatever you called them, they would tell stories sometimes that ‑‑ whether they are true or not, I don't know, of some abuses. But you always have to watch that in a situation like that.
And I believe they did when I was there. So I would say it was at least average or better.
KAREN BREWSTER: Can you give examples of what kind of abuses those might have been?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, of course, you've heard ‑‑ well, they've had movies and stuff like that of almost a torture‑type things, or snake pits and I think there were ‑‑
some of the things were used commonly in some of these institutions, like cold waters hosing, or ice bath, restraints of various kinds, physical abuse of various kinds and striking people.
I mean, these are things that you don't want to see happen, but they may have. Restraints or seclusion unnecessarily long or whatever. Deprivation of food. I ‑‑ I don't know. I don't know what all.
I didn't ‑‑ we didn't ‑‑ I didn't see that happening. I think that McCoy had a lot to do with that, too. If she found out anything, they were out of there.
KAREN BREWSTER: And so during the years you were there, did you feel there were abuses?
DR. ROY MOSS: None that I could point to. I mean, as to how I ‑‑ how it would be done differently. Most of the aides there were sensitive, seemed to be. That's all I can tell you.
KAREN BREWSTER: I know in ‑‑ I think it was in the 1950s, there was some congressional investigations of Morningside. Did you ever hear anything about that going on while you were there?
DR. ROY MOSS: No.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So it was before your time.
DR. ROY MOSS: Right. Of abuses you mean?
KAREN BREWSTER: It was just an investigation of the facility, from various aspects.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, probably it had to do with abuses. Yeah, I wasn't too familiar with that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Whatever reasons institutions get investigated by Congress.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, mostly it comes about by complaints.
See, I later went to work at ‑‑ well, I worked in private practice after Morningside, and I worked at a mental health clinic. Mostly I've worked at mental health clinics, and I did have a period of eight or so years of private practice, and then I ended up down here at Atascadero State Hospital, and which I think there were a lot of abuses.
And prior to my getting there. And some continued after that. But they were reported to by patients, and then it was ‑‑ and they ‑‑ they summoned the Justice Department there, and basically, having to do with various abuses that were occurring.
But that's another story, but that's how it comes about, I think, or families. But how would families know? I don't know about visitors coming from Alaska. I think there may have been some, but I can't tell you.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, that was a question I had, when you mentioned families, people came to visit ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, I ‑‑ I really don't know. I think some did. I ‑‑ I just don't know that for sure. I would guess that sometimes they did.
Section 7: KAREN BREWSTER: So you just kind of did a review of what you did after Morningside, you went into private practice?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I went to work at a mental health clinic, and then private practice, and then Atascadero.
And then after I retired from Atascadero in '94, and I continued to do locum tenens, going to various places in temporary jobs, and then ‑‑ then I worked for ‑‑ well, it turned out to be seven or eight years, at Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County Mental Health in Santa Maria. That's what I'm doing here.
KAREN BREWSTER: Uh‑hum. And so you left Morningside in what year?
DR. ROY MOSS: '66, I think, or late '65 or '66.
KAREN BREWSTER: And why you did you decide to leave the facility?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I could see that it wasn't ‑‑ it wasn't going to make it. And I tried something different. So I tried various different things. I mean, I checked out various things and ‑‑ and it didn't make it, as it turned out.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So having spent those years there, what has that kind of meant to you personally, professionally, to have had that Morningside experience?
DR. ROY MOSS: It was interesting, I have to say. I learned a lot there, and I don't have any negative feelings about the experience.
I was treated well, and all in all, I thought ‑‑ I thought they did a pretty good job, you know, of running a hospital, chronic‑type hospital. As far as acute hospital, that was another story. Acute hospitals have other agendas, i.e., making money, and so...
So yeah, it was ‑‑ it was an okay introduction to it. I think the ‑‑ the Coe ‑‑ Henry may have had some, perhaps, exaggerated idea that it could become like one of the well‑known psychiatric hospitals in the East, which I guess are still going.
Whitney, isn't that one of them? Sheppard and Enoch Pratt. There's several of those. Hartford Retreat where the rich people go. But it never ‑‑ never came ‑‑ came close.
KAREN BREWSTER: So your years at Morningside, it was early on in your career.
DR. ROY MOSS: Pretty much.
KAREN BREWSTER: Were there things you learned there ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ that have been valuable?
DR. ROY MOSS: I think so. Do you want me to tell you what ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Such as?
DR. ROY MOSS: ‑‑ what I've learned? Well, it's hard to say what you have ‑‑ what you've learned. You learn how to work with a team, how to get along with difficult people, and ‑‑ and sometimes easier ones.
A lot of what medical practice in general is being able to have an objective attitude about what you're doing, you know, and people in ‑‑ when you think about medicine in general, that people wonder how can you, you know, cut on somebody or remove some noxious wound or ‑‑ or deal with some difficult condition or patients dying and accidents and all that sort of thing, how can you manage that.
You learn to do that because if you don't, you're in big trouble, and some people get in big trouble.
So you ‑‑ you find ways of maintaining your focus in these difficult situations.
And being with the mentally ill, you might say, is not a lot of fun, especially the more serious ones, you have to have a focus as to what you're doing or what you're trying to do rather than what you see on television which becomes more dramatic and sometimes extremely maudlin type of thing. So that's ‑‑ that's a lot of what it is.
And in medicine in general, and psychiatry has its own particular brand of it, where you can maintain equanimity and to be objective and helpful to people that you may not like, that you never could like, and you wouldn't want to live next door to them.
Certainly they are not all that way, but the seriously mentally ill can be difficult to work with, and sometimes can be very rewarding, too. So you look at that. But the whole object is to ‑‑ to do the best job that you know how under the circumstances. And that's ‑‑ that's how I think people make it in medicine and do some stuff that other people can't imagine.
Section 8: KAREN BREWSTER: And were there any patients that you worked with that you felt like you were successful with? And I don't know if you can say "cured," I don't know if that's an appropriate statement.
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yeah. There had to be some. Well, first of all, the advent of the drug therapy was ‑‑ was monumental.
I mean, prior to Thorazine, there were people that got better, and some just got better on their own and without much help. And some of the treatment ‑‑ some of the conditions wax and wane, or they go into remission, or whatever, but with the drugs, there was some real improvement.
KAREN BREWSTER: And so in Morningside, were there patients that ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, we had ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: And could you ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they had already been on the medication, but we put more of them on it that hadn't and some of the newer medications, and saw some pretty good improvement. I'm not sure about dramatic improvement.
Are we talking about the people from Alaska or the private? I mean, we had some good ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Either one.
DR. ROY MOSS: ‑‑ private results with the patients, and ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Was it ‑‑ were there types of conditions different with the Alaska patients than the local ones? Is that why there's a difference?
DR. ROY MOSS: They were more serious.
KAREN BREWSTER: The Alaska patients were more serious?
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yeah, right. Although we had some difficult private patients, too.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was wondering if any of your Alaska patients you had success with and you got to see them go home.
DR. ROY MOSS: I can't ‑‑ I can't remember ‑‑ I can't ‑‑ people that had not already been ‑‑ see, they had been treated for a long time, mostly.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
DR. ROY MOSS: That I particularly did something that got them? I can't think of that. And I know that a lot of them did seem to do better, but whether they went home, you know.
KAREN BREWSTER: So when they were ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Other than being transferred back home.
KAREN BREWSTER: And they were being transferred because of the bureaucracy.
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: Not necessarily because of their condition.
DR. ROY MOSS: So I don't know what the difference was.
KAREN BREWSTER: All right. One last question, which I didn't ask earlier, when you mentioned that you were married, you had a family at the time when you worked there?
DR. ROY MOSS: Uh‑hum.
KAREN BREWSTER: And ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, Paul, my ‑‑ he's my number three son is called, he was the one who called you.
KAREN BREWSTER: Uh‑hum.
DR. ROY MOSS: Or not called.
KAREN BREWSTER: Who e‑mailed us.
DR. ROY MOSS: E‑mailed you, right. And he has a memory of it. And the other ‑‑ the older ones remember it, but they didn't seem to have any particular remembrance. We used to have a Fourth of July picnic there, they had a great time there.
They had a lot of events and things that were ‑‑ and the patients participated in that, too. They liked that a lot. And I don't know what all. They used to go there and come there, some ‑‑ some reason or another. But it made more of an impression on him, I think, than ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: But, yeah, there wasn't a lot of interaction with your family in the farm and the facility or anything?
DR. ROY MOSS: No. No.
KAREN BREWSTER: What about you mentioned Fourth of July, which makes me think Christmas. Was that an event celebrated?
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yeah. But there, as you may know, a lot of people have issues around Christmas, especially when you're in a remote place away from everybody. So we had more difficulties around that time.
People wanted to ‑‑ whether they really had anything better back there or not. I mean, they were looking for the elusive wonderful life situation. But yeah, they ‑‑ they would ‑‑ there would be a lot more depression, anxiety, and so forth around Christmas.
And so we had events and so forth that would cheer them up.
I don't remember a Christmas party for the staff, but I'm sure there must have been some. Somehow it doesn't register, for my family anyway. But the patients, yeah, they experienced the separation period and so forth.
Section 9: KAREN BREWSTER: And now who did you report ‑‑ what doctor did you report to? Who was your supervisor?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, Alan Roberts for the most part, as I said.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: And then I was briefly in charge myself.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Tell me about that.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, everyone else was gone. That's how you become in charge.
KAREN BREWSTER: Or you miss a meeting and they volunteer you is often how it happens.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, pretty much.
KAREN BREWSTER: What were you ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Roberts left, and then there was a hiatus, and then until Charlie Jones and Hutchens came in.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what does it mean to be in charge? What did ‑‑ what were your responsibilities?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, that's ‑‑ it was nothing more than usual, just trying to see that everybody got adequate treatment, you know, as best you can. You check with the various staff members and ‑‑ and I still had patients. I ‑‑ I was just acting.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But whether you were acting or whoever was really in charge, did they assign patients to the different doctors, or ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: No, we did that as a group, really.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: You know, we didn't always do it in rotation. If somebody seemed like a better candidate for somebody else, then they would take them, and ‑‑ and I was doing an adolescent group at the time. And so I would see the teenagers.
KAREN BREWSTER: That would be a challenge.
DR. ROY MOSS: It was a fun thing, but it ‑‑ it failed, ultimately, because of you got some destructive youngsters, and they ‑‑ they caused a little ruckus, and we didn't really have a secure place to put them, so we had to close it up for ‑‑ for a time, and it never got going again.
Some of them needed a more secure setting and more staff intervention. But I had some pretty good success with it for a while.
KAREN BREWSTER: So the buildings and rooms and everything in Morningside, they weren't locked, there wasn't a lockdown type setting?
DR. ROY MOSS: Correct. I think that some of the units were locked at night. In fact, maybe they all were, but by and large, it could be locked, you know, if some ‑‑ there was some reason. Try to keep it as open as possible.
KAREN BREWSTER: Is there a theory behind that having it as an open facility where it's ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, it's more like a normal life, you know, where you don't feel like you're incarcerated. That's more like the ‑‑ you might say you go back to Pennsylvania School of Mental Health Treatment, that was in vogue at one time, a long time ago,
Quakers, they were the ones who kind of favored that sort of thing, keeping people busy and in a family like sort of setting. And that worked okay, too. Again, for the really difficult ones, it didn't.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you'd say your experience at Atascadero would be sort of the opposite, right? Full lockdown?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they are all criminals is what it is. They ‑‑ that's ‑‑ that's the bottom line there. And well, it's true that a lot of the Alaskan ‑‑ or some of the Alaskans were under criminal commitment, but at Atascadero they all were under criminal jurisdiction, so they've all committed crimes.
And some of them more serious than others. And some of them a lot more difficult to manage. Primarily because the criminality, rather than the mental illness, the mental illness was mostly manageable. The ‑‑ it's a whole different story. Did you say you didn't know about ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, Atascadero was a whole another subject, and I don't want to record it on here, so ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Right, but you said you never heard of it.
KAREN BREWSTER: I didn't hear about it, no.
DR. ROY MOSS: Have you heard about it now?
KAREN BREWSTER: Well ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Except from me.
KAREN BREWSTER: No. And I know we've spent a lot of time talking, so that would be the end of my questions unless you have something else about ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: No.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ Morningside that you had that I hadn't asked you about.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I ‑‑ I gave you most of those names. There's some of them I'd connect with some of the people, and I don't know how they would feel about it, but I think it's a good idea that you're doing this, and I'd like to see the results, and as they come in, and see what kind of picture you can develop.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, appreciate your input and experiences. It's one we haven't had other people talk about, so I appreciate your sharing it.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I hope it helps somebody.
KAREN BREWSTER: Thank you.
DR. ROY MOSS: Okay.