April 13, 1909


With Organs of Body Apparently in
Normal Condition, Every Ef-
fort to Arouse Carolmas
Has Failed.
George Carolmas, Who Has Been Asleep for Most of 35 Days.

Lying on a cot in the insane ward at the general hospital, George Carolmas, a subject of the king of Greece, has for thirty-five days been asleep without interruption except for one day last week. Before being removed from his rooming house, 15 West Fifth street, on March 12, he ha slept for four days.

Carolmas came to America from his home in Athens, about eight months ago. He worked on the railroad as a track layer after arriving in Missouri. Like most of the thrifty foreigners, Carolmas saved most of his wages and horded it for the proverbial rainy day. In some way which has not been satisfactorily explained he lost his little savings and brooded over his misfortune.

The Greeks who knew him were aware that Carolmas was brooding over his loss, but little attention was paid until March 8. That morning Carolmas failed to get up and go to work. His landlord knocked on the door of his room several times during the day to awaken him, but failed to receive any response. In the afternoon he entered the room and discovered that his roomer was sound asleep and that speaking to him or shaking him would not waken him. Becoming frightened the Greek landlord summoned Dr. George Ringel of the emergency hospital.


Four days later Carolmas was sent to the general hospital for treatment. He was examined carefully by the staff at the general hospital and found to be conscious but asleep. As far as the physicians have been able to discover every organ in the patient's body is normal. His breathing is regular and his heart action is apparently good.

Food is given to the patient five or six times each day. Part of the time the nurses furnish him with nourishment by pouring a small quantity of broth or milk in his mouth and allowing him to swollow it naturally. At other times the patient does not swallow and a stomach pump is brought into use. His nourishment consists mainly of milk and eggs. Very little nourishment is necessary.

When taken to the hospital the Greek patient weighted about 170 pounds., but since then he has lost about ten pounds. He is evidently about 35 years old. On last Thursday Carolmas woke up, and from all appearances was over his sleeping spell. He walked around the corridors of his ward and the specialists believed he was recovering. However, he became tired after being awake for thirty hours, and went back to sleep.

While he was awake last week Carolmas gave evidence of being hysterical. He followed "Pete," the man in charge of the ward, around and continually kowtowed to him. He would get down on his knees and kiss the attendant's shoes. Then he spent a great deal of time in prayer, which would be followed by a spell of crying. If the physicians or attendants atteempted to talk to him, he would break down and weep.


The treatment being given to him is the best afforded by the hospital. Every day he is given a hot water bath, then an attendant gives him a thorough massage. Treatment with electricity is not possible as the hospital is not equipped for it. What the hospital physicians are endeavoring to do is to build up the man's nervous centers, but about all they can do with him is give him food and a tonic.

From examinations by the best specialists in the city it is believed that Carolmas is suffering from a shattering of the nervous centers. His condition is scientifically termed as stuperous melancholia. It could result from narcolepsy, kidney disease, softening of the brain or from the sleeping sickness common in Africa. A tumor on the brain might also cause such a condition.

As a tumor could be diagnosed and the physicians have failed to find any signs of one in the case of the Greek, that cause has been eliminated. They have also decided that he is not suffering from narcolepsy. On account of his hysteria while awake last week, and the meager information or history of his health before arriving at the general hospital, the physicians are positive that his nervous condition is responsible.

People of Carolmas's nationality are high strung and subject to nervous diseases. If crossed or thrown into any excitement the Greek people are said to go off on a tangent and become nervous wrecks.


More than two years ago a man was picked up on the street who was believed by pedestrians to be unconscious. He was removed to the general hospital, where it was found that he was really asleep. He continued sleeping for 42 days, being sustained that long by forced feeding, and then died.

Dr. St. Elmo Sanders, former city physician, said yesterday that whenever a patient suffering from a continuous sleep had to be nourished by force chances of recovery were not good.

The man found on the streets two years ago finally slept so profoundly that if he was placed in a chair he would not move a muscle. His legs could be bent and the patient would not move them.

Dr. John Puntin, a specialist of nervous diseases, said that he had had a great many patients who slept for long periods. Most of them, however, would have short intervals of wakefulness. The disease is not necessarily fatal, he said. The physicians who have examined Carolmas believe he will recover, but will not say how much longer he might sleep. All of the physicians and specialists in Kansas City are greatly interested in the case.