Nov 19th 2010 By Jeremy Taylor
You don't have to have been committed to have seen the inside of the notorious Oregon State Hospital. That's because the real-life mental institution was used as the set for the Oscar-winning classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
It turns out the facility was as much of a house of horrors off-screen as it was on.
A federal investigation of the Oregon State Hospital two years ago uncovered widespread abuse and neglect of patients, and the structure itself was found to be ridden with toxic paint, asbestos, bird droppings and rodents. A separate investigation found the cremated remains of 3,600 patients in corroding copper canisters.
"You can see the place where they showered. You can see their scratchings on the wall," Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney told the Associated Press. "They lived there. And then often people forgot them. They just took them there and it was over."
But beginning next year, all the hospital's inmates will be transferred to a brand-new facility, featuring fresh food, art therapy and more outdoor space. There's even a wing that mimics a city -- complete with a post office, a bank and a hair salon -- so the patients won't feel like they're losing touch with the real world.
Until fairly recently, those who were institutionalized with mental illness tended to be treated in an inhumane manner
, and this upgrade at the Oregon State Hospital provides a symbolic end to that long and regrettable era in mental health care.
However, Nurse Ratched
will live forever on DVD.