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Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 565–571 | Cite as

Asylum Doctor Extraordinaire: Dr. Thomas Drapes (1847–1919)

  • B. D. Kelly
Historical and Literary

Abstract

Dr. Thomas Drapes (1847–1919) was resident medical superintendent of Enniscorthy District Asylum in County Wexford, Ireland from 1883 to 1919, and one of the leading figures in Irish asylum medicine for several decades. Drapes’ career was as complex as it was remarkable. Drapes was elected president of the Medico-Psychological Association for the term 1911–12 but had to decline on health grounds. In 1912, however, he was unanimously elected as co-editor of the Journal of Mental Science, to which he devoted his considerable energies and intellect. Drapes published widely, opposing Emil Kraepelin’s proposed division of “functional” psychosis into manic-depressive illness and dementia praecox; openly examining the use of “punitive measures” in asylums (Enniscorthy had notably low rates of restraint and seclusion); and publicly bemoaning the folly of “psychophysical parallelism”, or the spurious division between mental and physical symptoms in medicine. Although not immune to passing trends in medical thought (e.g. regarding sterilisation of the mentally ill to prevent further mental disorder), Drapes was generally independent-minded, insightful and incisive, and his legacy was to help shape Irish mental health care for many decades.

Keywords

Psychiatry Mental disorder Diagnosis Psychiatrist History Ireland 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Quotations from the Journal of Mental Science and reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest to declare.

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult Psychiatry,UCD School of Medicine and Medical ScienceUniversity College Dublin, Mater Misericordiae University HospitalDublin 7Ireland

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