Monday, January 03, 2005

Todschweigen ("death by silence")

It is distressing to read Norman Fost’s review (1) of Fred Boyce’s America’s Gulag Archipelago in the December 2, 2004 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) for two reasons: There are no references to the work of Thomas Szasz on the topic. The editors of NEJM did not see fit to check the manuscript for appropriate literature review. Editors have a social and professional responsibility to make sure that other authors who have written on a topic addressed by a contributor are appropriately credited.

For over 50 years professor of psychiatry emeritus Thomas Szasz has exposed the fact that mental hospitals are the American equivalent of Abu Ghraib. One need only visit the Thomas Szasz website—which averages over 1,500 hits a day—and view his publications list there to see the truth about this.

More important, though, is why. Why does Fost act as if Szasz were not alive? Why does Fost cite two obscure references, compared to the plethora of material Szasz has written on the topic?

1. Fost, N. America’s gulag archipelago. N Engl J Med 2004;351;2369-2370


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