A shock by any other name

ECT statistics

In the early days of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) doctors were not coy about using the term “electric shock”.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • “The duration of the shock is variable, lasting about 0.35 sec” (from an article entitled “Cardiovascular changes following electroconvulsive therapy” published in the British Heart Journal in 1948)
  • “When no fit is obtained by the first shock…” (from an article entitled “Clinical applications of electrically induced convulsions” by WH Shepley published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1940)
  • “The shock is therefore of such a size that if passed through any part of the body other than the head it would be considered highly unpleasant” (from an article by RE Hemphill and W Grey Walter published in the Journal of Mental Science in 1941)

 Nowadays however people avoid the use of the word shock and can be quite creative in their use…

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