Renowned Swiss psychiatrist named Gottlieb Burckhardt was responsible for conducting the first ever psychosurgery case documented in human history. Conducted in 1888, the procedure attracted controversy. The psychiatrist claimed that the surgery worked on fifty percent of his patients.
Although, due to a lot of public pressure and criticism from medical colleagues, he had to stop performing these procedures for a long period.
However, he did start doing these surgeries again starting from the 1930s. Once he resumed, he started documenting his cases because of their high success rate, soon after which the surgery became an accepted procedure in different parts of the world.
Starting from the late years in the 1930s to the mid of 1970s, more than 100,000 lobotomies/psychosurgeries took place in different parts of the world.
People who performed these procedures needed to have a plethora of knowledge regarding how the human anatomy works. Not only this, but they also needed experience to get the procedure right. Small mistakes during a lobotomy could turn things sideways in a matter of seconds.
Therefore, only the people who had abundance of patience, dexterity in both hands, and the courage to take responsibility of the procedure could conduct these psychosurgeries.
Suffice to say, with thousands of lobotomy cases in the record books, there were some that became famous due to their unique natures. In this article, we will discuss the ones that shocked the whole world.
Before we proceed, you may be wondering why the name of Frances Farmer is not mentioned in this list. Well the thing is, there is no proof about whether Frances ever took part in a lobotomy. The person who made the allegations later on admitted during a court proceeding that he was not telling the truth.
Here are 10 notable lobotomies that are spine-chilling.
10 Helen Mortensen
Helen Mortensen was a patient of Dr. Walter Freeman. Helen visited the doctor in 1967. Helen was among the first trans-orbital patients that the doctor had in 1946. After her initial treatments, she faced a major relapse in the psychiatric symptoms that she had. Doctor Freeman was responsible for her first operation and it seemed like a success in the beginning.
However, after the relapse occurred in 1956, Freeman once again performed the operation on Helen. Once again, the operation worked fine and bought about positive results in the patient as the doctor made a few tweaks and shifts from the previous procedure.
After a few years of productive brain functioning, Mortensen returned to the doctor for another lobotomy. Freeman agreed and performed the surgery. However, unlike the previous two surgeries, things went wrong with this one as Walter severed a vessel in the patient’s brain. This caused Mortensen’s death three days after the surgery.
Because of this, the hospital where Walter Freeman worked revoked his surgical privileges causing him to retire after a few years. Walter was one of the most respected psychosurgeons in the world as he performed close to 4000 lobotomies in more than twenty states. He performed more than two thousand lobotomies using his patented ice pick procedure.