Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NPR produces a riveting piece

I was fortunate enough to be in my car with NPR on when "My Lobotomy" was aired. The "All Things Considered" feature tells the story of 56-year-old Howard Dully, who received a transorbital lobotomy from Dr. Howard Freeman when he was 12 years old. Dully was not mentally ill; rather, he was considered a nuisance by his stepmother, who arranged the surgery.

"My Lobotomy" covers Dully's two-year search for information about what was done to him, and ends with his finally talking to his father, whose denial is bone-chilling.

You can download the feature and see and hear a lot of Web-only features here.


I heard part of it too! It was chilling indeed. The woman who lost her brilliant mother to a lobotomy was so sad...

By Blogger Unknown, at 8:17 PM  

Even the name lobotomy sounds like a nightmare. When I was in nursing school back in the early 70s, the hospital had one day a week where they did electric shock thearpy to the mentally ill. As students, we were expected to observe these procedures. It was bone chilling to watch those poor patients, who, by the way, had been given antiseizure medications, have such violent seizures during and after the procedures. The shock thearpy was suppose to get rid of their depression, and some say that it did but never for long. I am so thankful for antidepressants. Wow! What would life be for bipolars and other mentally ill people. We've come a long way baby!

By Blogger zelda1, at 1:10 AM  

ECT has come a long way, too, since the 70's, and for people who do not respond to antidepressants, it is a lifesaver. The patient has only petit-mal seizures, and I have seen several cases of lasting relief. The only problem is that if you have more than a few sessions, the memory loss becomes permanent. But ECT saves lives. When antidepressants don't work, I encourage people to seek ECT, and I have seen few cases in which it did not work.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 AM  

By the way, there is also a new brain surgery for depression, but it is in trials and will be for a long time. The few patients who have volunteered for it have reported significant to complete relief so far.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 AM  

It certainly was chilling and it is hard to believe how widely embraced this barbaric practice was.

As Tom Waits once said, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

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