NHS Zombie Ward

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Experiences: Behind the fiction, questions remain about why the women of Ward 5 were subjected to such cruelty at an NHS hospital.
 
A copy of his brainwashing title Battle Of The Mind is said to have been found at an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.
 
As for the Royal Waterloo, it closed as a hospital in 1976 and is now owned by an American university. Sargant’s sleep room is a student bedsit.
 
But for the women who fell into his hands, his legacy lives on. ‘He damaged us,’  says Elizabeth. ‘He destroyed our potential.’
 
After being discharged from Ward 5, she was unable to cope with her career in marketing and took jobs as a supermarket shelf-stacker and a cleaning lady.
 
‘It changed me. I lost interest in things,’ she says. ‘There was no way back to my old life. I am angry about what I feel I missed out on. I’ve lost chunks of my memory. And I can’t lay down new memories.’
 
Hilary adds: ‘It dulled me an awful lot. It knocked the spirit out of me. Taking so many drugs had a bad effect - by the time I was 26 I had ovarian cysts.’
 
In Australia and Canada, where Sargant’s methods were disastrously emulated, dozens of narcosis patients died. Those who survived were eventually compensated.
 
Survivors of the Royal Waterloo Hospital have been told by lawyers that the lack of paperwork and the amount of time that has passed makes it unlikely they will ever be similarly compensated.

But above all, women like Elizabeth and Hilary want to be acknowledged. They want to know how Sargant can have been allowed to get away with such monstrous behaviour.
 
‘People talk about the sleep room as if it was something from another world,’ says Elizabeth.

‘But we’re still alive. We’re still here. We’re still suffering from what he and his colleagues did to us.’