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A nurse worked at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. She was a surviving victim of Dr Hannibal Lecter.

On July 8th 1976, the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter complained of chest pains. As Lecter, committed to the asylum a year before for killing nine people, was cooperating with therapy, security around him was more relaxed. He was taken to the infirmary, his restraints removed, and was given an ECG. As the nurse leaned over, Lecter lunged and sank his teeth into her face. As Lecter savaged her, orderlies rushed over to restrain him, dislocating his left arm. Lecter managed to dislocate the nurse’s jaw and tore out her tongue and swallowed it. Unusually, Lecter’s pulse rose to a mere 85 bpm. It is unknown what happened to the nurse afterward, except that they reset her jaw and that she lost an eye.

Dr Frederick Chilton often told this story to visitors to the hospital to warn them of how dangerous Lecter was. He even kept a photo of the nurse’s mutilated face, enjoying the reactions when showing the photo to people.

After this incident, Lecter was given maximum security. He was placed in a cell in the lowest level of the asylum. The door to his cell was a double barrier, the first standard prison bars, the second a stout nylon net that was further from arm’s reach from the bars. When entering the cell to inspect it, Lecter would be placed in a straitjacket and muzzle, and tied to a hand truck, with guards watching him. When releasing Lecter, the staff would lower him onto his bed and tie him with heavy cloths. Lecter would then free himself and exchange them for his dinner.

The attack on the nurse played a role in Lecter’s capture by Mason Verger. An x ray of Lecter’s left arm was sent to Verger, who used it to lure Clarice Starling into his revenge plan.

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