Surgery: Switching Off the Pain

The 63-year-old patient at Massachusetts General Hospital was dying of cancer of the pharynx and sinuses. No more surgery was possible, and he could barely tolerate the pain even when he was petting frequent injections of a morphine-type drug. Then, during the last three months of his illness, the tormented man found relief. His doctors tried a brand-new type of electrical treatment, and he discovered that he could switch off the worst of his pain simply by pressing a button on a little box in his shirt pocket.

Into the Brain. Because the technique involves drastic brain surgery before the...

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