Dr. Roy Moss was interviewed by Karen Brewster on October 27, 2010 at the historic Santa Maria Inn in Santa Maria, California. Dr. Moss was a psychiatrist at Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon from 1962-1966. In this interview, he talks about working at Morningside and other people he worked with, the types of treatments used, the Coe family who operated the facility, and patients being returned to Alaska. He also offers his thoughts on the quality of care provided at Morningside.
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
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Section 1: His personal background, education and work at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon.
Section 2: How he got interested in psychiatry and going to work at Morningside Hospital in 1962.
Section 3: The Native art on display in Wayne Coe’s office, trips made to Alaska by Morningside Hospital staff, and by 1966 all Alaska patients being returned to the state.
Section 4: Types of patients at Morningside Hospital, what life was like for them there, and the returning of Alaskan patients.
Section 5: Types of conditions patients at Morningside Hospital had, and the hospital units that existed for treating them.
Section 6: The age groups of the patients at Morningside Hospital, the treatment methods, and some of the other staff members he worked with.
Section 7: The lack of other psychiatric hospitals other than Morningside Hospital, and the various types of treatments used for patients at Morningside Hospital.
Section 8: Difficulties with the community therapy approach to treating patients at Morningside Hospital, the system of patient care, and the relationship between the doctors and the patients.
Section 9: Assessment of the quality of patient care at Morningside Hospital.
Section 10: Ways people were admitted to Morningside Hospital, and nurses who worked there.
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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: KAREN BREWSTER: All right. Today is October 27th, 2010, and this is Karen Brewster. And I'm here in Santa Maria, California, with Dr. Roy Moss for the Mental Health Trust Project.
Thank you, Dr. Moss, for taking the time to visit with me.
DR. ROY MOSS: Okay.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. And so why don't we just get started first with tell me a little bit about yourself, you know, where and when you were born.
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, really?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DR. ROY MOSS: All of that? Well, I came a long way. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and I went to school there. And I went to the University of Chicago for three years, and then I had a year at University of Iowa.
And I did my medical school at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago, which is now named something else. It was Abraham Lincoln School for some time; I'm not sure what it's called now.
Graduated in 1956. And I moved away from Chicago and never did go back to live, that is; went back to visit.
And I moved to Spokane, Washington, and took an internship there, a regular rotating internship, which they don't do these days. In other words, surgery, obstetrics, these things.
And then I took a residency at the Oregon State Hospital when Maxwell Jones was there. Now, that may not mean anything to you, but he was quite famous at the time.
KAREN BREWSTER: And what was he famous for?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, he set up a ‑‑ a treatment center in London for disabled people, and the goal was to get them off of disability. And he used what was called the therapeutic community. Now, he coined that term.
(Knock on door. Tape paused momentarily.)
KAREN BREWSTER: Now, we're back on. You had gone to Salem ‑‑ you were telling me about Maxwell Jones.
DR. ROY MOSS: Salem, Oregon. Maxwell Jones was there.
KAREN BREWSTER: You were talking about his ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: The therapeutic community, he coined that term in his book. And that became quite a well‑used form of therapy in various settings. It hadn't been tested really in a setting for psychotic individuals, and there was some problems with that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Can you explain what the therapeutic community is all about?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, what ‑‑ what he ‑‑ what he did was he had everybody would come into a program, and they had to attempt to be as honest as they could, and they would meet every morning and sit in a large circle, everybody in the whole unit, which could be up to 50 people.
And then they were asked to say what was on their mind, and be forthright and frank, and so forth.
And it worked pretty well in the rehab center because they were not psychotic individuals, and they confronted each other and they worked out a lot of problems.
And everything had to be worked out there. No private sessions, no secrets, no individual counseling and so forth. Everything had to be worked out in the ‑‑ in the community. So they knew that, and ‑‑ and there were no secrets from anybody. And the staff would have to report everything that they'd seen and heard and so forth. Anyhow.
So he brought that to the United States, which was interesting, Salem, Oregon, and he brought one of his associates who was a psychoanalyst named Jetmalani, that's spelled J‑E‑T‑M‑A‑L‑A‑N‑I. That's his last name, I think, and Narain was his first name. Anyway, the reason I mentioned him is because his son, Ajit Jetmalani, is a psychiatrist now in Portland.
So ‑‑ and Ajit did live on the hospital grounds. He was born there, I believe.
Mrs. Jetmalani came pregnant, I think. That, I'm ‑‑ I'm not sure of some of these details.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: But we ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Well, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. I lived on the grounds of the hospital there, too. You know.
KAREN BREWSTER: You mean the grounds of the Oregon State Hospital?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay. I didn't know it had a grounds.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yes, yes. Oh, very nice. Five bedroom homes and ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DR. ROY MOSS: Great. Well, we won't go into that.
Section 2: KAREN BREWSTER: How did you end up getting interested in psychiatry and specializing in it?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I suppose you might say some personal issues, as they call them now, and my mother had problems with depression, and I wanted to discover the cure for schizophrenia, which I never did.
I always was interested in it from early.
KAREN BREWSTER: Uh‑hum. So you did your psychiatry?
DR. ROY MOSS: There at the State Hospital.
KAREN BREWSTER: That was your residency field?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: And there, one of the other psychiatrists at the time, at the state hospital, was William Teutsch, T‑E‑U‑T‑S‑C‑H.
And he went to work at Morningside Hospital when he finished his residency. And he lived there on the grounds. He was quite ill, though, actually had emphysema, and didn't ‑‑ he didn't live too long afterwards.
The reason I mention his name also is that he did work there, and his wife was a nurse, Elaine, and they had a daughter named Lisa who now lives in Portland. That I know because one of my sons knows her.
Anyhow, so because Bill Teutsch went there, and it sounded like a reasonable place, and it was a salary and I needed the money, so I went there. That's the circumstances of life, you know.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yes.
DR. ROY MOSS: Same thing for State Hospital of Salem, I couldn't afford anything else. And they paid better than anything else in the country, actually.
KAREN BREWSTER: So how many ‑‑ how long were you at the Oregon State Hospital?
DR. ROY MOSS: Three ‑‑ three years.
KAREN BREWSTER: Three years. And then what year did you go to ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Plus I had my rotating internship. 1962.
KAREN BREWSTER: Is when you went to Morningside?
DR. ROY MOSS: Is when I went to Morningside, right. I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details. Do you have some other questions?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I'll keep ‑‑ keep going. Well, you said while you went to Morningside. Tell me what it was like when you got there. What was your first impression?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, it had an interesting atmosphere. It was not like the usual state hospital that I'd seen.
Most of them were very austere brick buildings, and these were a bunch of cottages, more or less, frame, painted white and sort of like a ‑‑ a large farm with several outbuildings, and so forth.
And there was a farm there. And they did have cattle and they had pigs and they had gardens and they raised vegetables, as well, and they used them and they lived ‑‑ they fed the patients with ‑‑ they did their own slaughtering, I think.
I'm not sure if it was there on the grounds. Patients did a lot of work, I must say. That I know, having observed that.
But when I got there, it was slowing down considerably, and so there weren't ‑‑ they were getting rid of a lot ‑‑ some of the farm animals, and gradually ‑‑ they actually had a prize herd at one time, Wayne Coe was known for his raising prize cattle.
And Wayne Coe was the ‑‑ here, I'm not sure of that.
Wayne Coe was still alive and he was there, and I don't know if he was the president or whatever you would call it. His son Henry Coe was more or less running it, but Wayne was there; and he did have some executive capacity, but I don't know the exact. But he was forgetful and showed signs of early dementia.
KAREN BREWSTER: So he was an elderly man by that point?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So how much contact did you have with ‑‑ excuse me ‑‑ with Henry?
DR. ROY MOSS: A lot. Yeah. We ‑‑ he was in on many of the patient conferences, and certainly anything that had to do with staffing and management of, he was in on that.
And also we would go out socially after work sometimes and to the local steakhouse, so forth.
KAREN BREWSTER: So at this point you were still a single man?
DR. ROY MOSS: No, I was married.
KAREN BREWSTER: And your family ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Not to this lady.
Section 3: KAREN BREWSTER: Tell me a little bit more about the Coes. What ‑‑ what were they like, Wayne and Henry?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I didn't really know Wayne very well to talk to. He was, again, forgetful. He ‑‑ one of the things I remember was that he would go places with his car and then he'd forget where he left his car. And that happened a lot.
And ‑‑ but he would persist in doing that, and so there was always somebody who would have to go after and find the car. And they usually were able to track it down.
And there were other signs of confusion like that but I don't remember much else. He ‑‑ I'm digging here.
KAREN BREWSTER: What about the ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: He may have talked about the old days. You know, they did have a collection of artifacts. Did you know that?
KAREN BREWSTER: No.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yes. It was ‑‑ and I think it was in his office, or somewhere, I remember a display case, and it had a number of, well, masks, for one thing, and then there were other artifacts. I'm not sure exactly. Little canoes or baskets or bowls or ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: So Native arts and crafts, is that ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: From Alaska?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: I do remember one thing, it was a jaw of a ‑‑ of a ‑‑ one of the Alaskan women with the teeth were totally ground down to the bone from ‑‑ they used to chew on ‑‑ on the hides to ‑‑ to tan them or whatever, and they wore their teeth totally down to the ‑‑ to the bone edge. They didn't have anything showing, and it was quite brown.
And we did have a couple of patients, live patients, who had that same thing, that had lived and done that.
So there were artifacts of various kinds, and people used to go up to Alaska to bring patients back home on our ‑‑ our ‑‑ I don't know if they brought them down. They may. I never had the opportunity somehow to go up there. A lot of the people did.
KAREN BREWSTER: Were they ‑‑ were they the psychiatrists who did it or they were nurses or what was the ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Some psychiatrists, some were nurses, some were psychiatric technicians or whatever they called them at that time. How they were selected, I'm not sure; I didn't get to go. I missed that.
KAREN BREWSTER: And was that happening when you were working there?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. Yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: That was still happening?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. Uh‑hum.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was wondering, I know around ‑‑ I don't know exactly when Alaska patients started getting returned to Alaska. Do you know when that was?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I started there in 1962, and they were still not sending them there. I would say until '64, probably a couple of years went by, and they ‑‑ they had everybody sort of lined up as who would go when, but they didn't have the room for them, first of all, and it wasn't completed. So I ‑‑ I think by 1966, they were all sent back.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you said they didn't have the room for them, that would be the Alaska Psychiatric Institute?
DR. ROY MOSS: Psychiatric Institute.
KAREN BREWSTER: Were patients ever returned home or were they always returned to an institution?
DR. ROY MOSS: At the end ‑‑ at the end of it, I think they were returned to the institution. Prior to that, some people would return home.
KAREN BREWSTER: You've heard of cases where they were returned home?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, they ‑‑ there were some. Understand they weren't all various Indian groups, but there ‑‑ some were Caucasians, and they were sent back.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know, what kind of provisions maybe were set up for people, I mean, to go from Morningside to home?
DR. ROY MOSS: Flew them. Everybody flew. I mean, that was the way it went.
KAREN BREWSTER: Were ‑‑ but, you know, to adjust to life at home, were any kind of provisions made ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ or assistance given?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, here's where I mentioned ‑‑ I didn't mention, but I will mention a woman named Clara Salisbury, S‑A‑L‑I‑S‑B‑U‑R‑Y, and she ‑‑ and you know, I'm a little unclear here, but I'm going to say that she was registered nurse because she did nursing duties, and ‑‑ but she also was kind of a social worker, as well.
And she would make regular trips to Alaska to visit the families of the patients there and report to them. And she had worked previously in Alaska going to the various outposts, including where you were up in Barrow and Nome, and ‑‑ and visiting families and doing some medical stuff.
Because there were no doctors, practically, available, she would do certain ‑‑ I can't give you the details on the medical things. She gave injections and stuff like that, I'm pretty sure, which is why I think she had to be a nurse. She was quite elderly at the time, but still very ‑‑ very spritely woman, very full of energy.
KAREN BREWSTER: Now, you said she visited the families. Was this after a patient was returned or when the patient was still ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, the patients were still in the hospital.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ in Morningside, she would go visit the families ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: And tell them about it, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DR. ROY MOSS: So there was somebody doing that.
KAREN BREWSTER: I've never heard of that that happened.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, that's what I understood.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: I know she went up there, and that's what I thought her ‑‑ her mission was, and she may have accompanied people also returning.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did she ever bring patients to Morningside?
DR. ROY MOSS: Maybe. And I ‑‑ I don't know that for sure. Somebody accompanied them, you know, beside the pilot, I'm sure.
Section 4: KAREN BREWSTER: You mentioned the Native arts and crafts that there were on display. Were those made by people at the hospital?
DR. ROY MOSS: I'm not sure if ‑‑ that they were. Some were and some weren't.
KAREN BREWSTER: I was wondering about for the patients, what their day ‑‑ day‑to‑day life was like at Morningside. What ‑‑ what did they do?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they did have programs for them. They had occupational therapists and they had a ‑‑ a school, too, a little ‑‑ one of the places was used as a schoolhouse, a little white schoolhouse in this case. And so they ‑‑ they had various activities.
Well, arts and crafts, I guess. Again, some of the them would be the Native arts and crafts, and some would be others.
The teacher there at the time was a woman named Leola Ernstrom, E‑R‑N‑S‑T‑R‑O‑M.
I mention that because she later became the wife of Dr. Morris Bowerman (phonetic), who was there, somewhat after I came there. And I don't think ‑‑ I don't know if she's still living or not. They did divorce later.
KAREN BREWSTER: So can you talk about what a typical day was like for a patient? Do you have familiarity with that?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I was assigned to some of the ‑‑ first of all, at the time I got there, they had known that the Psychiatric Institute was being finished, and it would be finished soon, they would take all the patients back.
And as a result, the ‑‑ the Coes and their management decided to take in local private patients, and that's mostly what I was involved with, but I also had the authority for a chronic unit, so‑called.
And I can't remember exactly how many units there were, but I had a couple of them. And so I did have contact with those people.
He tried to keep them active, I know that, but then there was a mix of the private patients with the ‑‑ with the chronic, in certain instances.
In some cases the chronic patients were too regressed to be with people who were more alert. There were some that were quite regressed, had been there many, many years. And some had been there many, many years and they weren't regressed. So it varied.
KAREN BREWSTER: So that was one of my questions is what type of patients were there? What were the kinds of conditions people might have?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, at the time I think that ‑‑ well, you know the history, don't you, or do you, that Henry Waldo Coe was the founder of the hospital, and he was a friend of ‑‑ and this I've heard, I don't know exact details ‑‑ he was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and they went hunting together in Alaska.
That's how this whole thing got started, as I understand it.
And I ‑‑ I don't know the details, and I'm ‑‑ it's not authoritative, but they ‑‑ I know they did go hunting together because I did see something to that effect. Or pictures, perhaps. That's why I’m wondering whatever happened to all those pictures.
But anyhow, Henry Waldo Coe was a physician, he called himself a psychiatrist, I guess. I don't know about his training. But he ‑‑ he took people into his own home which was in Portland, a large home, and he treated them there, a few of them. This was local people.
And this ‑‑ and went on his hunting trips, I understand he made the arrangement with Roosevelt, and it was at that time the Territory of Alaska, to send the patients down. And you knew that reason was that they didn't have a place to keep them or they didn't have funds for it, or something. I don't know. They must have had funds because they paid them, and they ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, but we were a territory, and we certainly didn't have facilities. But I don't know how they ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Right. They could have built them. But anyhow, they ‑‑ they sent them to Portland and flew them all down there over a period of time. And I don't know exactly how many were there, ultimately, but it was quite a large number. The number a thousand or something like that comes to mind, but I ‑‑ I'm not sure of the exact number.
KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know.
DR. ROY MOSS: It was quite a bit. Quite a few. In these little buildings. Anyhow.
KAREN BREWSTER: But, so by the time you were there, it was already starting to be a mixture of ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Right. Exactly.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ Alaskans and local people?
DR. ROY MOSS: And the reason for sending people down, they had to be committed under law, they couldn't send them down there on a voluntary basis because if they wanted to leave, see, then, they could just leave and go out in the community of Portland.
I think that ‑‑ that wasn't acceptable. So they were all, I believe ‑‑ I believe, under court order.
And some of them were also in a forensic situation. There were several that were found not guilty by reason of insanity. That's the term that was used in those days. And they remained there.
There was one I know particularly, he was there for ‑‑ I don't know how many years, but the story was that he killed a man, and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he ‑‑ he was one of those sort of the caretakers there. Pat Shanahan (phonetic).
And I don't know, he was ‑‑ he did a lot of the work around the place, but they couldn't send him back because he was still paranoid. And ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: And was he want ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: And he didn't want to go back.
KAREN BREWSTER: He didn't want to go back. Do you know why?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I ‑‑ he was comfortable there. He had a pretty good life there. He was trusted. He even, I think, went into town and did errands and stuff. That, I'm not sure of. But he was pretty trusted. So there were other ‑‑ there were a few others in that same category.
And alcoholism was one of the factors in a number of cases, as you might expect in Alaska, complicating the mental illness. If it was purely alcoholism, they didn't stay, but they were treated and sent back. But again, I think they all had to be under some court order in order to do that.
So ‑‑ and then there were the ‑‑ again, the psychotics, some of them were quite regressed.
KAREN BREWSTER: You use the word "regressed." For somebody who is not in the psychiatric profession, what do you mean?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, all kinds of different things. There's ‑‑ there's some kind of regression where people just sit and stare all day and don't respond too much around them, except appear to be responding to internal stimuli and have bizarre mannerisms and behaviors, as well, including eating non‑food substances and messing themselves and so forth.
That would be pretty severe regression. And others who were just pretty inert, who just sat there, and so forth. As I say, there were some who worked on the farm, less as I got there than they had formally, some worked in the kitchen helping with preparation and so forth.
Section 5: KAREN BREWSTER: You mentioned the chronic unit. What are examples of conditions that somebody might have that would be considered chronic?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, primarily it would be schizophrenia. Some are almost catatonic, which you hardly ever see now. Paranoid.
That ‑‑ those are the main ‑‑ that's the main psychotic condition. Bipolar disorders or manic depression, there were some in that category that had manic episodes, and then depressive episodes. That's the usual.
Some dementias that became psychotic.
They had sort of a geriatric unit where there were ‑‑ some were demented and some were just extremely regressed, as some of these people, you know, they ‑‑ the old term for schizophrenia used to be dementia praecox, which in Latin means dementia of the young.
So they ‑‑ they appeared to be demented, but they ‑‑ well, they were in part, I think, but because they didn't practice any language and activities and so forth.
Now, what the percentage of that population was, I'm ‑‑ I can only guess.
KAREN BREWSTER: So ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Quite a few, actually.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ on the geriatric unit, were those people who had been residents there since they were children?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they just got older. Well, not, I don't think, children. If you look at the situation, I think Coe did ‑‑ you know, gosh, I'm trying to think of when the hospital ‑‑ when he really started it.
KAREN BREWSTER: When Henry Waldo started it?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: I want to say 1912, or something like that.
DR. ROY MOSS: Something in that vicinity.
KAREN BREWSTER: I have that date in my head.
DR. ROY MOSS: But it didn't really ‑‑ it wasn't large. First it was his own house, and then all these other ‑‑ he either bought other structures, or he bought the farm thing, and then probably built all those other structures. I don't know. That could be found probably in the city records, you know. I'm sure it could be.
But, yeah. Around that time. So it's conceivable that some of them came in then and remained until I was there in '65, or '62. There were some there that had been there 40 years, but I don't know if they were there as children.
KAREN BREWSTER: But I was wondering, the geriatrics, it was people who had been long‑term residents and aged.
DR. ROY MOSS: Very long term, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: It wasn't coming in as a aged ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Sometimes ‑‑ sometimes they were aged that came in.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you have a sense of how many ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: But not too many new ones were coming in, you see, when I was there. That was the whole point. They'd stopped ‑‑ well, they hadn't stopped but they were ‑‑ I'm not sure what they did. At some point they stopped sending them.
KAREN BREWSTER: From Alaska.
DR. ROY MOSS: And I don't know what they did before the place was built, so they had to have someplace ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But so you ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: ‑‑ to keep them.
KAREN BREWSTER: But Alaskan patients ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, they also had another unit. You know, there was a TB hospital in ‑‑ it was in ‑‑ well, something was in Valdez. But that wasn't what it was called. Mount ‑‑ it was Mount ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, in Valdez, there was Harborview Hospital, which was built for the developmentally disabled ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ but I think that came later.
DR. ROY MOSS: It may have come later.
KAREN BREWSTER: Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Mount Edgecumbe.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ was a TB hospital.
DR. ROY MOSS: That's the one.
KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know the timing on it.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, some of the people came down from there that went psychotic or had management problems.
KAREN BREWSTER: What do you mean, management problems?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, they were obstreperous or diff ‑‑ wouldn't comply with rules or whatever. That had to be, I think, that there may have been a more generous view of mentally ill at that time, it's just that they were unmanageable.
So they did have some that were younger kids had TB up there. So they got some from there, and some from the developmentally disabled, too, who may have been autistic, actually, because we did have a few autistic who became adults.
Section 6: KAREN BREWSTER: Do you have a sense of when you were there how many patients were adults versus children versus teenagers?
DR. ROY MOSS: Of the Alaska people, there weren't that many children. I can't even think of any. I can only think of a few of them. And then there ‑‑ there were some that came in as teenagers that ‑‑ from the community, and I worked with them, but from Alaska, not many children. I can't hardly think of any, actually, but there were a few, I think.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, in terms of the population at Morningside ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, there was a kid, I remember. Donny. Donny German was his name. And he ‑‑ he was kind of a autistic.
KAREN BREWSTER: I was trying to get a sense of the community at Morningside and ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: How it functioned?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, how it functioned, and what kind of patients were there, and kids.
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I think they tried to keep the more regressed separated from the ‑‑ the extremely regressed from the more functional, but there was a lot of mixing. It was ‑‑ it was far more of a democratic kind of society, and I think they tried to do some of the therapeutic community ideas at the time. We ‑‑ we tried that Maxwell Jones sort of thing. It wasn't too successful, unfortunately.
But we did individual counseling and we had a psychologist there. There was a ‑‑ and I don't know how long they had been there, I think some time. I couldn't remember, before my time, but they had one psychologist, Bob Furchner, F‑U‑R‑C‑H‑N‑E‑R,
and he, I think, was the chief psychologist, and he also had a ‑‑ some interns from the University of Portland, they had an arrangement with them. And one of the interns was a woman named Jean Stewart, S‑T‑E‑W‑A‑R‑T. And she and Bob Furchner were married.
You get a little pattern there?
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.
DR. ROY MOSS: Anyhow, I've got to watch myself with these things. The ‑‑ she had me sign some kind of statement here, but it didn't cover some of this, I don't think.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it's just ‑‑ it's for the public. That's all it's reminding.
DR. ROY MOSS: And there was another intern that I remember named Mike Peck, and I know that Mike went on to get his Ph.D. ‑‑ or maybe they were Ph. ‑‑ no, they weren't, they were Ph.D. candidates.
He went to work down in Los Angeles at a suicide prevention center. And that's the last I heard of him.
Bob Furchner died suddenly while I was working there, I believe. He had a heart attack. He was a pretty young man. Active, too.
I should mention that I'm not sure who was in charge of the medical staff.
I know that there was a man named John Haskins who was a long‑time psychiatrist there during much of this Alaska time.
And another, Bill ‑‑ William Thompson. And Bill Thompson went on to practice in Portland.
And they were and ‑‑ the men I mostly worked with when I got there was a man named Alan Roberts, and he was a Welshman from Wales. And he was trying to get this local private hospital concept going.
Section 7: KAREN BREWSTER: So before you were there and they started bringing local patients to fill in for the Alaskans going back, it had only been Alaska patients who lived at Morningside?
DR. ROY MOSS: Uh‑hum.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah. They paid the bills. As far as I know.
I'm not sure if they didn't sometimes use it as a holding facility in an emergency situation, and I'm a little vague on that, for the local ‑‑ if somebody had to be transported to a hospital quickly, they would ‑‑ because they were on the east side of town, and there was only one psychiatric hospital when I started in Portland, at Holiday Park, since has closed.
And later on, there ‑‑ there were a couple more, including at the university. The university always had a unit, but it wasn't as active. And then Providence Hospital, and I worked there later, as a matter of fact.
KAREN BREWSTER: So ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: On the east side.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ you said that Dr. Roberts was who you worked with. Is he who you reported to?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: And then Dr. Haskins and Thompson were your peers?
DR. ROY MOSS: They were gone.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
DR. ROY MOSS: But I read about them in the record. I read the records quite extensively, that's how I knew about a lot of that. So I knew about a lot of the treatment things.
KAREN BREWSTER: Uh‑hum. So who were some of the other doctors who you worked with?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, I don't remember. That was it, I think. Bowerman, I mentioned that.
KAREN BREWSTER: Uh‑hum.
DR. ROY MOSS: Later there it changed again. The ‑‑ let's see. I think Roberts left at some point, and a man named Charles Jones came from the east somewhere, some ‑‑ he was pretty well known at the time, the American Psychiatric Association.
And then is followed by a man named Wendell Hutchens, H‑U‑T‑C‑H‑E‑N‑S.
We didn't have that many psychiatrists. I can't think of any others that were there at the time. If I do, I'll let you know.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what kind of treatments did you utilize?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, you understand this was '62, and Thorazine had just been approved in the late '50s for medical treatment, and so we did use Thorazine and Stelazine drug treatments, and were pretty effective for a lot of the people. Some, it was not.
Prior to the advent of the chemotherapy, they used a lot of electric shock therapy. And some of these people received several hundred electric shock treatments. They were many, in the hundreds. Dr. Thompson primarily, and Haskins, I guess.
KAREN BREWSTER: So that was before you got there or while you were there also?
DR. ROY MOSS: While I was there, we did give some. Some differently than they had. They had given the treatments just using electrodes applied to the scalp, and we used an anesthesia and a muscle relaxing agent, as well, but we didn't use too much.
And they did use insulin coma therapy for a while, but it was stopped. It was rather risky therapy. Insulin coma was induced by injecting insulin until a person went into coma, and then gradually bring them out of it.
The belief that it was ‑‑ had to do with some problem with the metabolism of glucose, which is an interesting thing because many psychotics are diabetic, as well. But the connection has since been pretty iffy.
And ‑‑ but actually, some of the people had approved with it, the coma, surprisingly enough. When they came out of it, I guess they felt happy to be alive.
KAREN BREWSTER: And was that a treatment still being used while you were there?
DR. ROY MOSS: I think there were a couple of people that had that. I didn't administer it, though. But then they stopped that. It was supposed to be for really refractory patients.
KAREN BREWSTER: Was isolation ever used?
DR. ROY MOSS: Oh, yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Can you talk about that?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right. I ‑‑ I don't know, but they tried to avoid restraints, if possible, but I think they had to be used at some times, but they tried to use the minimum.
Isolation was ‑‑ well, if people were out of control, they did have some kind of a rubber room, as they used to call it, but where they would be protected and under observation. That didn't seem to happen too much. That happened more in Oregon State Hospital.
But after the advent of the medications, they seemed to be effective in reducing aggression and agitation.
Well, prior to ‑‑ there are other things that were used in the past in psychiatry, which I don't know that they were used at Morningside.
I mean, certain drugs, sometimes narcotic type or combinations of narcotic and a emetic were used together, Apomorphine and Hyoscine seemed to calm some people, I guess.
And earlier, I think they did use the bromides and barbiturates, but they ‑‑ they, too, were discontinued. Chlorohydrate sedative. So ‑‑ and then they ‑‑ you know, activities were a lot of the ‑‑ tried to keep people focused.
Section 8: KAREN BREWSTER: And you mentioned the community therapy.
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: And you said that wasn't so successful. Do you know why?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, people wouldn't talk. And it was like pulling teeth. You had to wait for them to say something, and sometimes it was quite irrelevant.
Maxwell Jones actually was ‑‑ he was a very clever man, and he would be able to take the utterances of people and ‑‑ and translate them, rightly or wrongly, into some kind of a context, so they'd say something bizarre and he would interpret that, and sometimes to the ‑‑ to the dismay of ‑‑ of the person who said it. So ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I ‑‑ I have a question about how it worked with the patient care. Were you assigned a patient and you always saw the same patient or you kind of saw the same ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, on the new patients we were assigned, occurred on a rotation. These were the private patients. There were no new Alaska patients coming in, to my knowledge anyhow.
So it was all new local patients, and we would be assigned in rotation, and we would see that person and administer medication and talk to them, psychotherapy, and select a program of occupational therapy or physical activities of various kinds, and various other kinds of treatments that were available.
Art, and whatever they were interested in, music. And so we coordinated that for those individuals.
And so there was so many of them as they came in. And they were discharged, usually they had short stays.
They didn't stay; because of insurance and other factors, they couldn't stay too long, although we did have some that were able somehow to have lengthy stays.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what's a short stay? What time ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: A couple of weeks to a month, maybe.
KAREN BREWSTER: And a lengthy one would be?
DR. ROY MOSS: Six months or more. The cost would be pretty prohibitive if you didn't have insurance.
KAREN BREWSTER: So you ‑‑ that person who you were assigned to when they came in, you continued to see that patient for the whole time ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ they were there?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: Until they were discharged. And they were all discharged.
KAREN BREWSTER: So there was some consistency in care?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: And do you know about the Alaska patients who had been ‑‑ when you got there, you were there ‑‑
DR. ROY MOSS: We ‑‑ we didn't have the same program for them. They were mostly assigned to activities, and they all had activity schedules. Many of them had sort of jobs, really, of doing various things around the hospital, including the grounds and things of that sort.
And then we would see them on some kind of a regular basis. They had to be seen individually every so often. I don't know, maybe a month. But we'd also see them in a group.
They would have a ‑‑ sort of a muster in the morning where everybody would report, and I would go to those and get the report from the unit supervisor and, you know, what had happened, and if there's anybody that needed to be seen, anybody having special difficulties.
And I would just observe and see if there's anybody that appeared to be having problems, more unusual problems.
That's how we managed it with the chronic unit.
So they had to be seen, and their medications had to be reviewed probably every week or so. I'm not sure exactly, but ‑‑ and re ‑‑ rewritten, et cetera. Pretty standard kind of practice.
KAREN BREWSTER: Do you think the treatments and the patient care at Morningside was comparable to national standard at the time?
DR. ROY MOSS: I would say it was comparable to national standard of public hospitals, and maybe even a little better than that.
And as far as priority hospitals, there's a lot of variation there. Some of the ‑‑ I would say better than some of the private, and not as good as some of the others. Not a Sheppard and Enoch Pratt or that sort of thing, and I don't even know how good those are. The ones in the East, you know, highly touted private hospitals.
But, you know, they didn't have the high‑priced psychiatrists and so forth to treat them, and psychoanalysts and that sort of thing that they have in the East. But as a public hospital, it was, I think, at least as good as most. Better than a lot.
KAREN BREWSTER: And do you know ‑‑ feel like there were any deficiencies that were very obvious?
DR. ROY MOSS: When I got there, it was ‑‑ well, it's like anyplace that, you know, they ‑‑ some people are lax in their observations and they let things go and people get in difficulty.
But so many of the chronic patients were stable, even though they weren't well, they were ‑‑ they weren't acting up and creating difficulties that didn't require a lot of intervention.
And theoretically, you know, they could have ‑‑ who knows, that's the point, could they have made it on the outside with supervision, because we don't know now, but people in a state hospital, they are on the streets now, living on the homeless shelters and wherever, or under bridges. That's what happened to a lot of them that were discharged from the mental hospitals here.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah that ‑‑ that was a question I had, is some of those chronic Alaska patients were there for a long time, and did they need to have been there that long?
DR. ROY MOSS: Possibly not; again, depending upon what was waiting for them elsewhere. I mean, that was the same old story other places. Oregon State Hospital, when I started working there, had 5,000 patients.
KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.
DR. ROY MOSS: And they now have a hundred maybe. Well, whatever happened to all the rest of them? A lot of them are living in the streets, and too many, and I don't even know how many.
So when you ask the question, could they have lived, yeah, they could have lived on the streets, but could they have lived any kind of a reasonable life?
That depends upon what was there for them. Because they were still not quite right. Some who were apparently okay, I don't know. That ‑‑ well, that ‑‑ that's being tested now. People are let go and they ‑‑ how do they do?
Section 10: KAREN BREWSTER: Well, there's ‑‑ there's stories in Alaska of people being sent to Morningside who maybe didn't have a mental health issue and they were finding they were sent there for reasons that they were a troublemaker in the community or somebody didn't like them.
DR. ROY MOSS: Family members. Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: You know. And did you ‑‑ and so that makes you wonder if people were there unnecessarily.
DR. ROY MOSS: Unnecessarily. Well, I can't really vouch for any of that because many of them would say that, you know. That's ‑‑ that's part of ‑‑ part of the deal is that people say, I shouldn't be here, I'm perfectly fine, and they would act pretty fine, too. But you don't know what they would be outside.
And often, when you got to know them better and you talked to them, they still had mental illness, but they were better able to conceal it, which is okay also, but would they conceal it on the outside. So I don't have any knowledge of any of that.
KAREN BREWSTER: You did mention the alcoholic question, and it sounds like there were some people who were sent there with alcohol problems, and then they were sent home, that that was all that was happening?
DR. ROY MOSS: Right. Right. Well, that's theoretically what should have happened, if they recovered from their alcoholism, or from acute or chronic, then if they didn't have residuals, you know, some of them were demented, too, and so they were psychotic.
There are psychoses associated with alcoholism. And ‑‑ and some of the people were pretty serious alcoholics. So they may have stayed. But others should have been sent back. And I can't say for sure whether they were all ‑‑ that happened in all cases.
I didn't mention nurses. We had quite a few nurses there. You mentioned two, Lynette McCoy and Helen Nigh. And you said they came up to Alaska after ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: That's what somebody has said, that they came and helped at Harborview Hospital. And I don't know if they helped with the transfer of patients or what.
DR. ROY MOSS: Whatever. They ‑‑ they were very knowledgeable, they had been there a long time. So ‑‑ but there were other nurses that worked with them.
Let's see if I left anybody out.
KAREN BREWSTER: So what was ‑‑ what was Lynette McCoy like? Was she the head nurse?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yes.
KAREN BREWSTER: What was she like as a person?
DR. ROY MOSS: She was a very strong personality, authorit ‑‑ authoritative. I actually liked her. She was a no‑nonsense kind of person, and she didn't like excuses or long explanations, or cut to the ‑‑ cut to the chase type of thing.
And she made her staff tow the line in terms of being on time and doing their job, keeping the reports. And ‑‑ but you didn't want to cross her, I guess, this is one of the things; that is to say, countermand an order that she had ‑‑ a nursing order.
And if she didn't like a medical order, she would tell us, too. She was pretty outspoken. But that didn't mean we had to conform.
And, well, you know, she was lesbian, and that didn't seem to make any difference to the program. So I don't think she used that in any way in her job.
KAREN BREWSTER: And what was Helen like?
DR. ROY MOSS: Well, Helen was more passive. She was her partner.
KAREN BREWSTER: Her life partner?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay.
DR. ROY MOSS: And ‑‑ well, I don't know that that's hearsay, but I'm ‑‑ I'm pretty sure. She was very polite and friendly, and more like a nursing kind of nurturing kind of person.
KAREN BREWSTER: And was Helen like the assistant?
DR. ROY MOSS: Yeah, sort of, I guess you'd say.
KAREN BREWSTER: Assistant head?
DR. ROY MOSS: Whatever she was, supervising or something.