Woman accuses doctor of brainwashing

A Montreal woman is suing both the Royal Victoria Hospital and the federal government for how she was treated by Dr. Ewen Cameron nearly 50 years ago. Kastner was 19 years old when she was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1953.

Dr. Cameron and his staff diagnosed her as being schizophrenic.

Her treatment consisted of 63 electroshocks to her brain and insulin injections to put her into a coma.

It was part of Cameron's attempt to "de-pattern" her, wiping her memory clean of her mental illness and then reprogramming it.

Kastner says she doesn't remember her family home, or the school she attended as a child, nothing from her childhood. She says she has some fragmentary memories of the time after she left hospital, around the time she got married. Kastner says the memories are like pieces of a kaleidoscope: she has part of the picture but cannot put all the pieces together.

Dramatic testimony

Kastner's brother-in-law testified she was an intelligent, attractive girl when she went into the hospital's Allan Institute.

He says when she emerged from her final visit, she was like a "zombie": her body was there, but the life had gone out of her.

Kastner's son told the court he was angry at his mother for many years because she would have terrible nightmares and get angry for no reason. He says she would fall down and not know why and could never really explain what was going on.