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August 1962

Medical Problems on a Ward of a Hospital for the Mentally Retarded

Author Affiliations

Stanley W. Wright, M.D., Research Department, Pacific State Hospital, Box 100, Pomona, Calif.; Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, and Chief of Research, Pacific State Hospital (Dr. Wright); Physician, Pacific State Hospital (Dr. Valente); Superintendent and Medical Director, Pacific State Hospital, and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine (Dr. Tarjan).

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(2):142-148. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030144006

Pediatricians have an important role in the care and treatment of the mentally retarded child. They are often involved in the decision for institutionalization. They frequently advise early admission. The current trend of having younger and more handicapped patients in public facilities points to this fact as well as to parental acceptance.1 Mentally retarded children in a state hospital present a number of medical problems, most of which are accentuated during the period after placement. Under stress, many parents return to the family physician for advice. It is important therefore that he be acquainted with the life pattern of the young institutionalized mentally retarded child.

This report describes the daily activities, the medical care, and the common illnesses of such patients. The information should assist the physician in counseling parents prior to and after placement and in understanding the important role the hospital staff plays in caring for

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