Wednesday, May 19, 2004

...that made his ears burn

It's a fine spring morning, and the Los Angeles Times brings us a brief history of the lobotomy.

The late Walter Freeman, who wrote Howard's case history, had retired from the neurology department at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. By then, he was famous for championing the lobotomy. Freeman was so convinced of the value of the operation that he traveled the country to "treat" just about any stubborn mental problem, charging as little as $25.

He would damage the prefrontal region by driving steel ice picks through each eye socket, just above the eye. This "transorbital" lobotomy required no drilling into the skull, as other techniques did.

Freeman had settled in Los Altos, a few minutes' drive from where Howard's family lived. He was nearing the end of his career and would later lose his surgical privileges after one of his patients died on the operating table.

What with one thing and another, I'm still tempted now and again...

via Hit and Run