Thomas Evans
General Psychology
Dr. Sabin
In the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, there was a character
named McMurphy, played by Jack Nickolson, who was admitted into a mental
institution for medical testing after having been convicted of statutory rape.

It was obvious that he was only faking and he thought that he could get off from
having to serve his sentence in a work camp. He pretty much saw everything and
everyone as a joke but the only person who he didn't fool was nurse Ratchet. He
thought that he would be able to leave in a couple of months, the time of his
sentence in the work camp, until he found out that he wouldn't be allowed to

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After a few days he began to see the patients as a group that needed
more enjoyment in their lives and he wanted to try to find some way that they
could get out and go to a bar and watch the world series. The nursing staff
seemed uncaring to their lack of enjoyment to life and basically refused to
allow the patients to even watch the game on the TV during their chores even
after having took a vote where a mute patient nicknamed 'Chief' for the first
time communicated that he wanted to watch the game. McMurphy had befriended
Chief and later discovered that he was not deaf and dumb but was only faking his
muteness and they planed to escape together.

McMurphy later found out that many of these patients were here only
because they put themselves here and didn't want to leave even though they had
the option to. He tried his best to bring some life to these patients such as
teaching them to play poker and gambling for cigarettes. He even went so far as
to escape over a fence only to open the gate and to get the patients onto a
nearby bus and drive them to the docks where he took them on a fishing trip.

Also he arranged for his girlfriend and a prostitute to come to the institution
at night with some alcohol and had a little party for them before he decided he
was going to escape. The next morning one of the patients who was suicidal was
found by the nurses in bed with the prostitute. Nurse Ratchet told him that he
would tell his mother what he had done and the patient was found later dead on
the floor from having had slashed his own throat.

McMurphy never did leave and he was given a form of therapy called ECT,
electro-convulsive therapy, and after many sessions this left him in a near-
comatose state. One night, Chief had killed McMurphy out of pity for him as he
thought it was undignified that they had taken nearly all of his humanity and
the movie ended with Chief escaping after it had been said that it couldn't be

Electro-convulsive therapy is a technique used to treat disorders such
as major depression and schizophrenia. Patients usually receive one treatment
about three time a week for usually ten sessions. Electrodes are attached to
the temples and a strong electrical shock is given, enough that convulsions are
produced. This application of current induces unconsciousness so it becomes
nearly impossible for the patients to recall the treatment. The patients are
given a sedative beforehand and are also given muscle-relaxants because the
shock produces such strong convulsions that the patients would otherwise flail
about wildly sometimes breaking bones. With these muscle-relaxants the
convulsions are barely noticeable to any onlookers. Also this form of therapy
is not given to patients that have heart-problems or high blood pressure.

ECT has been under much controversy for many reasons. Many
professionals dislike the idea of passing electric current through the head that
produces convulsions, even if they are given sedatives before hand. There is
also the side effects. There is disruption in the recall of recent events and
some patients suffer this lapse of memory on a permanent basis. No one seems to
know how ECT works and for reasons stated above, it was outlawed in California
but later overturned by the courts.

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