Lauretta Bender (1897-1987) was a Jewish-American pediatric neuropsychiatrist and a major human-experimentation empty-suit quack. She began working at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital in 1930 and, in 1934, was awarded the position of senior psychiatrist at the Children’s Psychiatric Division, a position she held for 21 years.
Most of her “work” was in diagnosing mental disorders in children. Most of her victims involved abandoned children or children whose parents elected to institutionalize them.
Bender was a forerunner in proposing that childhood disorders were not always due to a poor up-bringing. The majority of the children at Bellevue were African American. She made it quite clear that she felt that African-Americans were best characterized by their “capacity for laziness” and “ability to dance,” both of which, she said, were features of the “specific brain impulses” of African-Americans.
Bender’s favorite “diagnosis” was “childhood schizophrenia.” After these children were abandoned and institutionalized, empty suit “Dr”. Bender noticed they experienced depression that, of course, required “treatment.”
In January 1937, Dr. Bender, as part of a large contingent of Bellevue Hospital physicians, including doctors Joseph Wortis and Karl Bowman, and accompanied by Dr. Harold E. Himwich from Albany Medical College, attended a joint meeting of the New York Neurological Society and the psychiatric branch of the New York Academy of Medicine. The gathering was a virtual who’s-who of practitioners of insulin and Metrazol shock therapy.
The empty suits would administer massive doses of insulin to induce a coma in the child victim. Typically, injections were administered six days a week for about two months. Courses of up to two years were documented. After blood glucose was flushed out of the child, stupor and coma would result.
Seizures sometimes occurred before or during the coma. Many children would be tossing, rolling, moaning, twitching, spasming or thrashing about. Vomiting was not uncommon. After the coma, patients required continuous supervision, as there was a danger of hypoglycemic aftershocks. Patients invariably emerged from the long course of “treatment” often “grossly obese.” Mortality ranged from about 1 to 5 percent.
It took awhile to discredit this skulduggery. In 1953, British psychiatrist Harold Bourne published a paper entitled “The insulin myth” in the The Lancet, in which he argued that there was no sound basis for believing that insulin coma therapy counteracted the schizophrenic process in a specific way. Prior to publishing “The Insulin Myth,” Bourne had tried to submit the article to the Journal of Mental Science. After a 12-month delay, the Journal informed Bourne they had rejected it and told him to “get more experience.”
Leonard Roy Frank, an American human rights activist and survivor of 50 forced insulin coma treatments combined with ECT, described the treatment as the “most devastating, painful and humiliating experience of my life,” and a “flat-out atrocity” glossed over by psychiatric euphemism and a violation of basic human rights.
Next up in Bender’s doctor’s bag was Metrazol for artificially induced epileptic convulsions. In 1982, the FDA revoked its approval of Metrazol.
After the poor results and side effects from Metrozol, the quacks moved on to electric shock treatment.
In “A Secret Order,” H.P. Albarelli writes:
One source reports that, inclusive of Dr. Bender’s work, electroconvulsive treatment was used on more than 500 children at Bellevue Hospital from 1942 to 1956, and then at Creedmoor State Hospital Children’s Service from 1956 to 1969. The CIA, in 1973, destroyed all its files related to such experiments under the rationale that ‘the public would be too outraged over such activities and would not appreciate the Agency’s objectives behind such work.’
Bender would later go on to develop close links with several of the doctors (including Dr. Ewen Cameron) involved in the CIA and Pentagon behavior-modification experiments conducted under auspices of MK-Ultra, Project Artichoke and other such programs.
Dr. Bender was a proponent of “depatterning” electro-convulsive therapy (ETC), then termed “annihilation experiments.” The so-called therapy began in the mid 1940s. ECT is still used today, although most modern ECT devices deliver a brief-pulse current that is thought to cause fewer cognitive effects than the sine-wave currents that Bender and her ilk used.
Sarah Hall reports, “ECT has been dogged by conflict between psychiatrists who swear by it, and some patients and families of patients who say that their lives have been ruined by it. It is controversial in some European countries such as the Netherlands and Italy, where its use is severely restricted.”
Bender also used lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Her papers show that she considered the early LSD work of “doctor” Alfred M. Hubbard in Vancouver, Canada, to be “very substantial and beneficial.” Hubbard was not a physician nor did he have any formal medical training. Hubbard, a jovial character who sometimes worked with the FBI and CIA, was a strong proponent of the use of LSD. Despite the fact that he had no medical credentials and once served time in prison for smuggling, he hoodwinked the Sandoz Chemical Co. into supplying him such ample amounts of LSD that he dispersed so widely and abundantly that he earned the title “Johnny Appleseed of LSD.” We see Al Hubbard at the Timothy Leary 1979 reunion (see link below).
Bender also conducted extensive research on autism. Steve Silberman, the author of “Neurotribes,” is sharply critical of Bender’s therapeutic approach to children with autism. In the ’50’s and ’60’s, he told an interviewer from The Sun magazine that “autistic kids were often subjected to seclusion, restraint, and physical punishment by clinicians who did not understand their condition.
Bender, administered ECT therapy to autistic patients as well as insulin-shock therapy and gave them anti-psychotic drugs like Thorazine. She also experimented giving autistic kids LSD every day for nine months or more, but decided they were becoming “more anxious.” Imagine that.