15 nóvember 2005

,,I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a..."

"I have also been trying out a sort of half-way stage between electroshock and prefrontal lobotomy [to treat mental patients].... This consists of knocking them out with a shock and while they are under the 'anesthetic' thrusting an ice pick up between the eyeball and the eyelid through the roof of the orbit [the bony cavity that contains the eye] actually into the frontal lobe of the brain and making the lateral cut by swinging the thing from side to side. I have done two patients on both sides and another on one side without running into any complications, except a very black eye in one case. There may be trouble later on but it seemed fairly easy, although definitely a disagreeable thing to watch. It remains to be seen how these cases hold up, but so far they have shown considerable relief of their symptoms, and only some of the minor behavior difficulties that follow lobotomy. [That is, prefrontal lobotomy, which typically involved boring holes through the front of the skull. The ice pick operation is called a "transorbital lobotomy."] They can even get up and go home within an hour or so. If this works out it will be a great advance for people who are too bad for shock but not bad enough for surgery."

Freeman went around the country in the late 1940s demonstrating this technique in mental hospitals. These exhibitions reportedly went well for the most part, except on those occasions when the patient bled too much or the ice pick broke off within the orbit or inside the skull. To remedy this problem, the ice pick was later replaced with a sturdier instrument and an ordinary carpenter's hammer was used to drive it into the brain.

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