Robin Williams' Suicide Needs Grand Jury Inquest
by GARY G. KOHLS, MD
(8-29-14) On July 2, 1961, an American icon, Ernest Hemingway, committed suicide at his beloved vacation home in Ketchum, Idaho. He had just flown to Ketchum after being discharged from Mayo Clinics psychiatric ward where he had received a series of electroshock treatments for a depression that had started after he had experienced the horrors of World War I as an ambulance driver.
One of his duties was to retrieve fragments of mutilated human bodies in the battle zone. He was haunted by the images of dead and bodies and dying humans for the rest of his life so there was no question that he had what was later to be understood as combat-induced post-traumatic stress disorder, with depression and insomnia. Hemingway himself had been severely wounded by shrapnel.
Like many victims of combat-induced PTSD, he drank a lot of alcoholic beverages and had had a series of failed marriages, with financial problems related to the alimony payments to his ex-wives. He understood that his psychiatric ECT treatment had erased his memory, and he knew that his writing career, his reason for living, was over.