Thomas Evans
One Flew Over the Cuckoo\'s Nest
12-6-96
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 leave.
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 done.




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.
--------------------------------------------------------------