Lost Souls: A Novel
by Carol Lawlor
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In the early 1960s, Tanya Kowalski, a 28-year-old evening head nurse on Ward Five at the Montreal Psychiatric Institute, becomes suspicious when she realizes that her patients' mental health is not improving. Chief of Psychiatry is renowned Dr. Samuel B. Strachan who prescribes experimental drugs and electro-shock treatments for his vulnerable patients. Tanya does not know initially that one of the drugs is LSD and funding is by the CIA.
The patients are then transferred to the Sleep Room where they are in chemical-induced sleep for weeks. They have been brought back to an infantile state, brainwashed and reprogrammed with repeated tape-recorded messages through headphones. The dreary Sleep Room is filled with child-like adults who have to be fed and have their diapers changed. It was Dr. Strachan's belief that he could cure his patients by wiping out their bad behaviour and reprogramming them with good behaviour.
Tanya is determined to find out what horrors are happening to the patients. She teams up with Max Callaghan of The Montreal Gazette to write an expose of Dr. Strachan and he is eventually brought to trial for his criminal acts.