Electro-Convulsive Therapy mouth gags

Made:
1950-1990 in Hertfordshire

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Rubber ECT mouth gags, comprising four gags by Ectron and one by Elprotect, used at St. Francis Psychiatric Hospital,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Rubber electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) mouth gags, comprising four gags by Ectron and one by Elprotect, used at St. Francis Psychiatric Hospital, 1950-1990. Some teeth marks are visible.

Rubber mouth gags protected patients from harming themselves during electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This psychiatric treatment was developed in Italy in 1938. It applied electric currents to the brain in timed pulses, causing a convulsion or seizure. It was thought possible to 'shock' a patient out of a severe mental disorder. From the 1930s until the 1980s, physicians thought the key to effective ECT was the severity of the seizure. Patients who choose ECT today are given a muscle relaxant. This means the electricity affects their brain but not their body. The gags were inserted into the mouth to stop the patient biting or swallowing his or her tongue. These examples were donated by St Francis Hospital, formerly Brighton County Borough Asylum. The scratch marks indicate they were well used.

Related people

Details

Category:
Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
1996-271/22
type:
mouth gag
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
credit:
Princess Royal Hospital

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.