Medicine: Speaking of Operations

''Emotionally I was reduced to a most primitive level of hope-fear. My feeling of apprehension and insecurity during the first operation was relieved by two factors: the authoritative, calm voice of the surgeon and the comforting physical contacts of [two women] physicians (who stroked my brow, pressed my arm). . . ."

Manhattan Psychiatrist Frederic Wertham had undergone, while conscious, two serious operations for dangerous blood vessel conditions in his legs. Due to the nature of his illness, scopolamine, the "truth drug," was given instead of an anesthetic. While the surgeon's knife cut into...

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