Full text: Problems in eugenics

Wagenen.Appendix.469 very radical change in methods, a proceeding about which there was very 
much disagreement and some considerable feeling. Our plan of proceeding 
with the work follows an agreement with the Secretary of the State Board 
of Health and myself, that relatives, where possible, should be consulted, 
the operation explained to them, and their written consent obtained before 
the work was performed. In many cases where relatives were not to be 
located and where patients were on the road to recovery and in a state to 
sensibly consider the subject, we have obtained the consent of patients. In 
a few rare cases we have operated against the wish of the patients.” 
“ The Superintendent of a hospital having cases that he believes should 
be operated upon, takes the case up with the father, mother, husband, or 
wife, as the case may be, either by letter or personal interview and explains 
the desirability of the operation, its result, its possible dangers. Consent 
having been obtained from the nearest relative or relatives, a history of the 
case with the recommendation of the medical superintendent is sent to my 
office where the report is considered by the Secretary of the State Board of 
Health and myself, and our consent granted, if in our opinion it is desirable. 
The superintendent on being notified of our consent, proceeds with the 
operation, a report of the work being sent to and kept on file in the office of 
the Lunacy Commission.” 
“ Among those of the male sex the operation is uniformly a vasectomy : a 
local anasthetic is used; the lower end of the vas is left open so that the 
spermatozoa are discharged into the sac and reabsorbed into the general 
system.” “ In the women the usual operation is a salpingectomy, though an occa­ 
sional oophorectomy is done in cases where diseased conditions seem to 
indicate it.” 
“ In all there are 94 women operated upon.” 
“ There has been one death in a case complicated by an appendectomy 
in which an acute nephritis developed a few days after the operation.” 
“ In all, since November, 1910, there have been performed 220 
asexualizations. Of those operated upon, 34 were 19 years of age or under; 
forty-five were from 20 to 24 years of age, and 54 were from 25 to 29 
years old; 37 were from 30 to 34 years. Forty-seven of the women were 
married, 38 single. A large proportion of the men were single, 76 of them 
being 29 years of age or under. Fifty per cent, of the men had either an 
insane or alcoholic inheritance that could be ascertained. Many of those 
operated upon have been discharged and are living at home in comfort. As 
a general rule all are benefited to some extent by the operation. In some 
of the vasectomy cases but little improvement in the mental condition is to be 
noted. We endeavour to keep track of those who are discharged and 
receive reports from time to time. We have found no ill effects. No 
interference has been noted in the marital relations.”11

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