Lobotomy and Trephination
The "Ice-Pick" Lobotomy
This looks horrific! It is the lobotomy Dr. Walter Freeman performed on over 2500 patients, doing as many as 25 in one day. He believed he had perfected a surgery improving on the kind Dr. Antonio Egas Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist performed. Freeman was an arrogant showman and played to audiences. In his surgery, he developed the "ice-pick" way to do a lobotomy. Accordingly, after rendering the patient unconscious, he would take his tool, insert it over the patient's eyeball through the orbit of the eye into the frontal lobe of the brain and moving it around, then proceeding o do the same in the other eye."
Dr. Moniz had received a Nobel Prize for physiology in 1949. Later this was challenged but was unsuccessful. These lobotomies were very popular during the 1940s and 1950s.
Ice Pick Tools
Dr. Antonio Egas Moniz
Dr. Walter Freeman
Trephination or Lobotomy
Prehistoric skulls have been found all over the world, with holes drilled in them. From the Stone Age, Far East, Celtic tribes, China, India, Mayans, and Incas. Today parts in Africa still use trepanning. Trepanning was done to alter behavior, treat mental illness. In ancient times, evil spirits could be released by drilling a hole to give them a chance to escape.
The earliest trepanned skull was of a Neolithic burial site in France and determined to be 7000 years old. Archaeologists that have examined these skulls indicate that the patients survived the procedure due to the bones healing.
Treatment For Mental Illness
Before modern medicine and the use of chemical prescriptions, there was little one could do for the mentally ill. Thousands were in mental facilities, and the cost to maintain the patients was outpacing the funding for the hospitals. Previously, uncontrollable patients were either placed in straitjackets, padded cells, or left tied up to some chair to contain them.
Of course, lobotomies were not always successful. The cure rate was, at best, perhaps 50%. Some patients suffered other ailments after the surgery, such as loss of personality, constant babbling, incontinence, and mental disability.
Some medical personnel considered lobotomies as barbaric, harmful, and had reservations about the procedure. l Many of those mentally ill were probably not even aware of the surgery. Indeed, they could hardly give their consent. "Informed consent" was not in existence before 1957. After WW II, when so many veterans were returning from war with what is termed today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the government allowed lobotomies for them.
With the advent of therapeutic medicines prescribed today, lobotomies are rarely, if ever needed. Indeed, medicine has come a long way from the gruesome lobotomy.
Before the craze was over, it is believed 40-50,000 lobotomies were performed.
Tools for Lobotomies
Rosemary Kennedy Lobotomy Patient
Rosemary Kennedy, of the famous Kennedy family, was born in 1918 and an extrovert and sometimes unconventional. Her father thought that medical treatment could perhaps contain her a little. He agreed to a lobotomy in 1941 at age 23. After a botched lobotomy, she was left infantile and institutionalized until her death in 2005 at the age of 86. She was visited regularly by her sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Rosemary Kennedy After Lobotomy
When the laws changed in the 1960s limiting state and local governments to admissions, this led to budget cuts resulting in downsizing and the spilling of patients into the streets, some with no family to assist them. In 1955, there were over 500,000 patients in mental hospitals. Today, some are housed in our jails, and many are the homeless on the streets. Was emptying the hospitals the right to help the mentally ill?
What more can the government do to solve the problems?
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 13, 2020:
Thanks for reading. And what they did to the ones who had no say in the asylums.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 02, 2020:
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.
Donna Rayne from Sparks, Nevada on March 01, 2020:
Oh, how sad Fran, I knew that one of the Kennedy's had it done to one of their kids and this just sickens me and makes me feel so sad for all those people.
You wrote a great article, thank you.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 01, 2020:
Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments.
Rosina S Khan on February 29, 2020:
After applying lobotomy and trephination to the mentally ill, since the most suffered serious side effects, they were probably not the right solutions. The spilling of patients into the streets and jails was certainly not the right solution. The right measures should be taken, I agree, Fran.