ugh. Ran across this first video and thought it was interesting, but nauseating. Amazing that such things could happen.
via PBS “American Experience” Part 1 of 5:
In the 1940s Dr. Walter Freeman gained fame for perfecting the lobotomy, then hailed as a miracle cure for the severely mentally ill. But within a few years, lobotomy was labeled one of the most barbaric mistakes of modern medicine.
Watch the entire series online at American Experience (13 parts)
(page down for a link to the Life Magazine article, “Bedlam 1946,” mentioned in segment 3)
In 1936, the Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz introduced a surgical operation, prefrontal leukotomy, which after an initial period came to be used particularly in the treatment of schizophrenia. The operation, later called lobotomy, consisted in incisions that destroyed connections between the prefrontal region and other parts of the brain… The treatment became rather popular in many countries all over the world and Moniz received the Nobel Prize in 1949.
…by this time the treatment had had its most successful period and in 1952 the first drug with a definite effect on schizophrenia was introduced, chlorpromazine, our first neuroleptic drug. Since about 1960 lobotomy, with a strongly modified technique (more discrete incisions), has been used only when there are very special indications such as in severe anxiety, and compulsive syndromes which have proved to be resistant to other forms of therapy. Perhaps about five operations a year are now being performed in Sweden.
Here is a link to the 1946 Life Magazine article mentioned in Part 3 of 5 above in which Pennsylvania’s Byberry State Hospital and Ohio’s Cleveland State Hospital are featured (page 102 – 118).
First page — click for larger image.
[Life: Bedlam 1946]