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I was an orderly at Rathbone Asylum for six years. In all those years I saw many sad, warped, confused, and degenerate people. I also saw some pretty horrible things that these people did; but one of the most horrible things was when a patient named Jimmy Branner savagely attacked Dr. Sam Redding. Branner was never violent before that incident. When he first came in he was still traumatized from the death of his girlfriend Amelia. He would sit in a despondent state crying, wailing, and talking to her as if she were right there. He was very apologetic as if he were somehow the cause of her sudden death. After a couple of months he quit those episodes and became very withdrawn, barely acknowledging those who spoke to him. He was never disruptive or displayed any behaviors that would lead one to suspect that he was capable of any harm. Then, out of the blue, he snapped. Dr. Redding was on the ward; he was actually sitting with a different patient when that attack occurred. Branner appeared suddenly and went right after Dr. Redding. It was horrible. Branner literally tore out Dr. Reddings throat with his teeth. Like a wolf attacking its prey. I was one of three orderlies who responded to the attack. It was nearly impossible to get Branner off of Dr. Redding. It was like wrestling a panther. Branner was vicious. Bruce, one of the other orderlies was the one who took a chair to Branner’s skull. None of us were exactly gentle but I never resorted to force beyond what was necessary to subdue a patient. I’m not condoning what Bruce did in this instance but Branner was the fiercest patient I had ever encountered. I came away from the fight with numerous scrapes and lacerations from his hands and mouth. Still, I think Bruce overreacted. While it was maybe necessary to render Branner unconscious, Bruce continued to hit him until Leroy and I had to get between him and Branner to get him to stop. When all was said and done, Bruce lost his job. Dr. Redding survived although he was severely maimed and could never speak again. And Branner? Well, he survived although he was in a comma for over six months. When he did awaken he pretty much went right back to his former withdrawn state as if the attack and the coma never even happened.

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