Baghdad Mental Hospital

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.

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A patient walks in the patio of the masculine wing of the mental hospital of al-Rashad, al – Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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Two patients of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital in the patio of the feminine line of the institution, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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Some patients of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital having the lunch in a patio of the facilities, Sadder City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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A patient cries in a corner of a patio of the feminine wing of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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A patient seated in one of the patios of the masculine wing of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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Two patients of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital share the same bed of an infirmary, after they have eaten a meal of rice, bread and water, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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A severely affected schizophrenic patient has a coprophagia crisis close to a latrine of the sanitary facilities of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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A patient makes a manual leg massage to another comrade of his infirmary, Al-Rashad Mental Hospital, Al-Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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Two patients of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital in a period of psycho-motor agitation in one of the feminine wing of the institution, Al- Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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An aggressive patient, closed in a wing of safety of the Al-Rashad Mental Hospital, manifests a stereotyped behaviour, Al- Sdar City, Baghdad, Iraq, 2003.05.12.
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