Bill Bronston and Friends: Willowbrook's Impact on Workers and Cuture
Dr. David Goode
Produced in 2005
Bill Bronston MD: So the workers were paralyzed. They had no place to turn. They had nothing to work with. If they raised a stink so much as that, they were out. There was a tremendous struggle to just get acclimatized in order to be who they were because these were not… I mean you're talking about the soul of American culture. I mean… mothers, aunts, and sisters and cousins who came in to care and were provided with this role model mostly from these monstrous white foreign doctors who would not touch anybody.
The place was utterly… I mean, it was life-threatening because of the diseases that were there. Hepatitis of all sorts. Parasites, intestinal parasites of all sorts, strictly from a public health kind of problems. Universal scabies in the place. Malnutrition of every conceivable kind. And then, of course, you're in a closed environment. So the great lesson is, you have a closed environment, you have human abuse.
You describe a group of people by their devalued status, you have a killing field. Nobody has an identity. Nobody has a name. Nobody has an individuality. Nobody had access from the outside to anybody on the inside. Nobody crossed that door.
When a family would come to see their relative, they were on the outside of that steel door, waiting for that person to be rolled out. They would take them out, deal with incredible problem on the behavioral situation the involution, the total autism that was created by an environment that would kill us. Anybody who survived one or two years in that place were made of steel and the workers were made of steel too because they had to, you know, they were this every minute.