Last-ditch medical therapy : revisiting lobotomy

Lerner, Barron H.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So thought Walter J. Freeman, a neurologist who became the United States's staunchest advocate of the lobotomy between the 1930s and the 1970s. A new book, The Lobotomist, by journalist Jack El-Hai,1 chronicles Freeman's advocacy of a procedure that was viewed by many, and continues to be viewed, as barbaric. In exploring the ways in which lobotomy became part of common medical practice, El-Hai raises questions not only about how we should judge the procedure in retrospect, but also about what lobotomy teaches us about last-ditch medical interventions.


Also Published In

New England Journal of Medicine

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health
Published Here
February 22, 2013