ECT in the Guinness book of records

American psychiatrist Albert L. Weiner got a mention in the Guinness book of records in the 1960s for being the country’s fastest psychiatrist. Dashing between the four treatment rooms in his New Jersey practice, he managed to treat up to 40 patients a day, some of them with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

In 1961 he was convicted on 12 counts of manslaughter after infecting patients with viral hepatitis through the use of non-sterile equipment, and sentenced to 2-4 years’ imprisonment and a 12,000 dollar fine. The conviction was overturned on appeal.

Treating 40 patients in a day is only unusual within the context of American office psychiatry of that era. In large mental hospitals, it would be normal to give 20 or more patients ECT in a morning.

The case was covered by Time magazine here 

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