In last week’s article, Dr. Wadsworth “Wadi” Murad shared stories about his father Dr. Leslie “Les” Erle Murad.
“My dad, Les, was a pulmonary specialist in 1957,” said Wadi.
Leslie was a Fellow of the American Geriatric Society in 1962.
While working at Patton, Leslie was a physician and surgeon.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Les Murad had a private practice in Highland, as a general practitioner in internal medicine, in addition to working at Patton State Hospital, in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, according to Wadi.
“There was time when my dad treated Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, a follower of the infamous Charles Manson,” said Wadi. “He treated her at the California Institution for Women in Chino when he worked there.
“Patton received patients from all over the state.
“On my dad’s first day of work, he came to the unit and had to open the door,” said Wadi. “A patient pushed by him to cross Highland Avenue and my dad had to tackle him. My dad thought he was going to lose his job.
“A lot of times, my dad had to go to court with patients. One time, a patient jumped out of the squad car, jumped on a bicycle and rode down Mill Street from the courthouse before being subdued. It was just another day at the office for my dad.”
When he was a child, Wadi remembers when patients could leave Patton and go into the community.
“Patton was an open facility at one time,” said Wadi. “I remember when my dad would have patients at our house doing yardwork. They were able to come and go to the facility.”
After several escape attempts, Patton put a fence around the perimeter of the hospital.
According to Wadi, the perimeter of Patton is operated by the Department of Corrections,
“When my dad was on call, I would stay with him at Patton,” said Wadi.
Before starting his own career at Patton more than 25 years ago, Wadi worked at his father’s medical office to build his practice in psychiatry.
Wadi has held many positions while employed at Patton. He was the chief of staff and the chief of psychiatry. He has also held other positions during his tenure at the hospital.
“I’ve had my own share of experiences, too, while working at Patton,” said Wadi,
“There was an instance where I was helping a colleague with a patient. I accidentally put the leather restraint on the staff member.”
Murad also shared how generations of families have worked and are still working at Patton State Hospital in Highland.
“There were at least 5,000 employees when Patton was operating its early days,” said Wadi. “A lot of couples have met at Patton.
“Working at Patton is generational. There are parents that work there. They, in turn, have children, and eventually those children end up working at Patton, in some capacity.
“I met my wife Kelli at Patton,” said Wadi. “She is an RN and works as the public health nurse.
Wadi also has two sons who work at Patton.
One of his sons is married to a daughter of a longtime employee of Patton.
The wife of the longtime employee also works there, as well.
“Like I said,” said Wadi, “there is a generational legacy at Patton.”
As a side note, the Murad family also served in the military in the field of medicine before working in that capacity in the public sector.
“My father was a medical officer in the United States Army,” said Wadi.
“My sister Joanie and I also served as medical officers in the United States Air Force.”
Wadi was a major in the U.S. Air Force.
“We have many veterans working at Patton, too” said Wadi.
“There are patients who also served in the military. We recognize them on Veteran’s Day. I would often get dressed up in my uniform for those events to honor my father and those patients that served.”
If you know anything about the history of Highland, I would be interested in hearing from you. You can reach me at (909) 816-0318.