Medicine: Mass Lobotomies

The patients suffered from a variety of mental disorders. Some had anxiety neuroses, others fought against irrational fears, morbid thoughts, hallucinations, a few had drifted into suicidal depression. But for all of them the treatment was the same. Strapped to an operating table, they got three quick jolts of electricity—enough to start violent, involuntary convulsions before they lapsed into anesthetic coma. Next a thin, icepick-like leucotome was inserted under each eyelid, hammered home through the eye socket and into the brain. Carefully manipulating the two icepicks, the doctor severed the connection between thalamus and frontal lobes in the patient's brain. The...

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