No more convincing evidence of the absence of parental affection exists than that compiled by Rene Spitz. In a South American
orphanage, Spitz observed and recorded what happened to 97 children who were deprived of emotional and physical contact with
others. Because of a lack of funds, there was not enough staff to adequately care for these children, ages 3 months to 3 years
old. Nurses changed diapers and fed and bathed the children. But there was little time to hold, cuddle, and talk to them as a
mother would. After three months many of them showed signs of abnormality. Besides a loss of appetite and being unable to
sleep well, many of the children lay with a vacant expression in their eyes. After five months, serious deterioration set in.
They lay whimpering, with troubled and twisted faces. Often, whena doctor or nurse would pick up an infant, it would scream in
terror. Twenty seven, almost one third, of the children died the first year, but not from lack of food or health care. They died
of a lack of touch and emotional nurture. Because of this, seven more died the second year. Only twenty one of the 97 survived,
most suffering serious psychological damage.
Charles Sell, Unfinished Business,
Multnomah, 1989, p. 39.
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