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To the Editor:
—The article "Fifty Years in a Mental Hospital" by Smith et al, in the Sept 1 issue of The Journal (181:750), was extremely accurate and well done. The article states that "the direct expense to the state for the care of these 47 patients during the period of their hospitalization was over three million dollars." I would like to point out that many of these patients contribute anywhere from 20 to 40 hours of productive work each week in the hospitals. When one balances the cost of the minimum care that these sturdy people require, against the dollars worth of labor they contribute without pay, I wager that the taxpayers come out a couple of million dollars ahead! Many of these people are the best bargains that the taxpayers have.The article states that "their average age was 81 years, but 35 were still working or
Robbins CA. Fifty Years in a Mental Hospital. JAMA. 1963;183(1):74. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700010114024
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