Daniel Carlat, MDDr. Carlat has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
The first ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), was performed by an Italian psychiatrist, Ugo Cerletti, who had initially assessed the safety of the treatment with dogs. He performed the first treatment on a human on April 18, 1938. The patient was a delusional engineer from Milan who had been found by police wandering around a railway station. He agreed to the treatment, and, fully conscious, was given two shocks, with no convulsions, as which point he sat up and said, “Look out! The first is pestiferous, the second mortiferous.” He allowed one more treatment, and it was the charm, leading to a tonic clonic seizure and an eventual discharge.
Source: Edward Shorter, A History of Psychiatry, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1997.