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Article
January 11, 1913

THE DETECTION OF THE MENTALLY DEFECTIVE AMONG IMMIGRANTS

Author Affiliations

Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Public Health Service ELLIS ISLAND, N. Y.

JAMA. 1913;60(2):106-107. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04340020014004
Abstract

It will be the purpose of this paper to discuss, not the detection of the insane, but the detection of the idiot, the imbecile and the feeble-minded seeking admission to this country.

In this day of large immigration there is scarcely a ship coming into the port of New York which does not carry among its passengers a mental defective of some degree. One of the duties of the medical officer detailed for line inspection in immigration work is to detect such cases and detain them for further mental diagnosis. One can readily see the difficulties presented by the admixture of races coming on each ship and the want of time for conducting such examinations. Aliens of the cabin class are examined on shipboard on the way from quarantine to the docks. The examination is especially difficult, owing to the lack of accommodations, of light, of space, to the excessive

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