Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Lobotomist

Last night I watched an interesting program on PBS - The Lobotomist.

Actually I watched it on the internet b/c by the time I got home - the program was just about over. My dh had watched it and told me about it (knowing how intrigued I would be about the whole thing) - so I went searching online for info about it and lo and behold I found I could watch the whole program online.

I've always been interested in neurological disorders.

The Lobotomist is not for the medically squeamish - as some old film procedures are shown, but if you are interested - you can watch the program here.

The program begins with the question as to whether the doctor who "popularized" the lobotomy was an "Angel of Mercy or Medical Monster". If you do watch it - let me know what you think.

I definitely have mixed feelings about the procedure and the man himself. I think he started out with good intentions but went too far. One thing to remember is that prior to the 1950's - there were no anti-psychotic drugs so there wasn't much that could be done for people suffering from violent and severe forms of mental illness. When Thorazine (an anti-psychotic drug) was marketed in the 1950's - it was marketed as a "chemical lobotomy".

The procedure was barbaric (as were many "treatments" for mental patients in the days of old) and was not always done while the patient was asleep! There was no consent from the patient or the family of the patient. The doctor who performed many of these procedures was not a surgeon...and the procedure did not take place in a sterile operating room.

Near the end of his practice he was willing to lobotomize children and even suggested the procedure as a method to treat severe headaches or bad behaviors in children.


CanadianGrandma said...

I did not watch it! It is a barbaric procedure in my view!