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Friday, 24.03.2017

Response by Samuel Gershon

LITHIUM CONTROVERSY

Samuel Gershon’s response to Barry Blackwell’s reply to Paul Grof’s and Gordon Johnson’s comments on his reply to Gershon’s comments

I am not able to interpret anyone’s behavior about anything. Barry mentions my time at Royal Park where Cade was the superintendent. The events of that time are clear to me. I graduated from the University of Sydney and decided to do my Psychiatric residency in Melbourne and all the course work was taken at the University of Melbourne. My first residency site was Royal Park and I thought this was a most fortunate location as Cade was there and that would be great. I asked senior residents about my interest in Lithium and they told me Cade had banned its use at Royal Park and that was it at Royal Park. My contacts with Cade were Hello and Goodbye that was it in total, other than the question that I and another resident in my year kept on posing to the psychiatrist running the Insulin coma unit, that when these patients completed their treatment, they fairly rapidly became ill again. We were told to do as we were told and we did not know what we were talking about. So this took this topic off the table. I, thus, put this topic and work with lithium aside. I continued my course work at the University of Melbourne, and got to know and talk to Professor R.D. Wright, the chairman of Physiology and asked him about my interest in lithium and the situation at Royal Park. He knew all about this story and had some strong comments about it. However, his aim was to be helpful to me, and he said go up and see “Trautie” and talk to him. Of course, this was the only way for me to proceed. Barry also mentions Trautner as an Australian. Well, he was a refugee from Germany with a German accent and although he was the only other person in Australia, who knew the MOST about Lithium, Cade had never asked to speak with him and he was never asked to lecture on it outside the walls of the university to a university audience. I also had never been asked to discuss my ongoing work with Lithium with anyone in the Department of Mental Health. Further, when I was moved to another mental hospital, I was discouraged from doing any work on this also. At this point, Professor Wright intervened and got us lab space at that hospital and a spectrophotofluorimeter and gave us one of the technicians from his department. Wright repeatedly mentioned that Trautner NEVER obtained proper recognition for his basic scientific contribution and his first large clinical study, which was the report that Schou’s Chief (Professor Strömgren) directed Schou towards. The background to this apparently simple tale is really much more complex, sorry for the length.

Samuel Gershon  

April 9, 2015