Soon after American troops had entered Baghdad, the Al-Rashad Teaching Mental Hospital in the south of the city, in Saddam City, was invaded by looters, who stripped the complex and allowed about 800 patients fled from the hospital. In the maximum security section of the hospital, 250 of the most dangerous criminally insane of Iraq were incarcerated. On the night of April the 8 th. the looters made off with the door of this section, allowing the inmates to simply walk out.
Nearly everything was taken: from air conditioners to wires, from water heaters to hospital beds and food supplies. Looters also ran away with the hospital’s supply of anti-psychotic medicine. All of the medical records have been destroyed.
There isn’t the smallest vestige of the patients that escape, they could be wandering in the streets, begging, could have gone back to the families, or have been died.
Doctors who returned to the hospital after the looting discovered many of the patients wandering aimlessly around the grounds. The medical staff believes at least three of the female patients were raped. Without anti-psychotic medication and appropriate treatment, the conditions of the patients were deteriorated rapidly, some of them went into relapse. Even those patients who had remained were badly upset by the events.
Al-Rashad was one of the most advanced mental institutions of the area. During the last 3 years the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross approached the quality of the facilities and cares of mental health rendered at the level of the European units.