Real-Life Horror: Lobotomy

This video is disturbing. Watch with caution.

I have a notoriously strong stomach, and this made me feel ill. There’s something…sacred about the brain, about what makes “us”, “us”. The idea of someone manipulating your very self with something so everyday as an icepick is terrifying to me.

It happened to Rosemary Kennedy, JFK’s younger sister.
“We went through the top of the head, I think she was awake. She had a mild tranquilizer. I made a surgical incision in the brain through the skull. It was near the front. It was on both sides. We just made a small incision, no more than an inch.” The instrument Dr. Watts used looked like a butter knife. He swung it up and down to cut brain tissue. “We put an instrument inside,” he said. As Dr. Watts cut, Dr. Freeman put questions to Rosemary. For example, he asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer or sing “God Bless America” or count backwards. … “We made an estimate on how far to cut based on how she responded.” … When she began to become incoherent, they stopped. (Kessler, The Sins of the Father, p. 226, via Wikipedia.)

Lobotomies are still performed as a treatment in certain debilitating mental illnesses.

There are greater horrors in life than I could ever hope to write.

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