Asking For Forgiveness
Part 8. Forgiveness for the Soul contd.
From last week: The cheerful smiling Dr. Iheakala Hewlen did not resign like his predecessors from the Hawaii state hospital. In fact, against all odds, his criminally insane patients became better and better! How did he do it?
The doctors and nurses watched him closely. He was a strange one, that doctor ….they thought. They noted two things: A) he continued being his smiling, cheerful self. How could he continue being that way? Did he not realize he was in charge of the worst of the worst wards? Was he a little ‘mad’ himself? B) He never even saw the patients. He did not even visit them in their rooms, not so much as put a stethoscope to their chests. All he did was to sit in his office, pick up a patient’s file, look at it for a while, and put it down. Then he would pick up the next patient’s file, look at it for a while, and put it down. He did this for the next patient, and the next, and the next, always picking up the file, looking at it, and putting it back … until the whole pile of patients’ files was done.
To the astonishment of the other doctors and nurses, as the days passed, the mentally insane patients, who everybody had given up on, started to get better and better. Violent situations reduced. The patients started to act more responsibly. The need for shackles and locked rooms decreased, until they were no longer needed. The quality of life improved for the inmates as well as the staff. The patients improved so much that they were ready for release from the ward. One by one, they left the hospital. Any new patients were treated by Dr. Hewlen in the same manner, and they too did not spend too much time in this special ward.
Dr. Hewlen continued working in this ward till 1987. By this time, because fewer and fewer patients were sent to him, this special ‘criminally insane’ ward had to be closed down.
What did Dr. Ihaleakala do that healed the patients? How did this miracle come about? More to the point, you might think, what does this article have to do with asking for forgiveness? You might even secretly wonder if perhaps Kamal Tolia has lost her mind? Well, I haven’t, as you will read in the next few weeks!
Next week: Forgiveness for the Soul contd.
Founder Member, LHSG