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freeman, dr. walter

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AlmondFacialBar
218825.  Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:10 pm Reply with quote

i think the psychiatrist dr walter freeman might be qi because few medics, or indeed people full stop, were ever so hailed for their achievements to fall so deep then. it can be said, though, that in this case justice was being served, because dr. walter freeman invented the transorbital lobotomy, or "icepick lobotomy", as it was popularly known. it's the procedure house asked foreman to carry out - for diagnostic reasons - on the dying policeman in season 2, only to find that foreman had gone blind.

anyway, dr freeman, born in 1895, was a yale graduate who had heard of severe depression and other psychiatric conditions being treated successfully with leukotomy, a procedure pioneered by the portuguese psychiatrist egan moniz, who received the nobel price for medicine for it in 1949. today people are campaigning for that honour to be withdrawn. the idea of the procedure is to sever nervous passageways between the frontal lobe and the limbic system - the seat of emotion - so any untoward goings-on in the limbic system can't influence people's thought. anyway, in 1936 freeman became the first person to perform that operation in the us, with the help of the surgeon james. w. watts. soon, however, he decided that this operation was the way forward with many more conditions than depression and tried to find a way of performing it without the help of a surgeon, literally quick and dirty - he wasn't a fan of asepsis. eventually, in the mid-1940s, he decided to go in through the eye-socket, with an ice pick from his kitchen. he later refined the procedure, first using a leukotome, the knife perfected by moniz for his method, but, when that kept breaking off as it was being wrenched upwards in the patient's brain, an instrument of his own invention called the orbitoclast.

in 1941, after only performing 65 lobotomy procedures the old way, he was called on to lobotomise rosemary kennedy, who came out of the surgery incontinent and babbling incoherently, and never recovered. she spent the rest of her long life in mental institutions. the reason for her lobotomy: she wasn't quite as bright as the rest of the kennedy clan, and some of her behaviour was regarded as an embarrassment to the family. her sister eunice founded special olympics in her honour.

still, freeman remained convinced his way was the right one to deal with mental illness, and so the icepick lobotomy became the method of choice to "cure" schizophrenia, depression, ocd, homosexuality, undesirable behaviour, headaches, epilepsy, communism and god knows what else didn't fit in with the ideal of the all-american boy or girl. freeman stated himself that the operation turned people into robots, and at the time that was seen as desirable because the mental instituions were overcrowded and psychoactive medication didn't exist. it cost 6000 bucks to calm a patient with a lobotomy, but hundreds of thousands to keep them safe with an untreatable mental illness. ergo, lobotomy won. freeman spent years and years between the end of world war 2 and the mid-sixties driving around in a van he had converted into an operating theatre and christened the "lobotomobile", performing lobotomies while-u-wait, dozens a day sometimes. his youngest patient was howard dully, a 12 year old boy whose stepmother declared herself unable to deal with his pubescent behaviour. he published a book about his experiences since, and they weren't pretty.

freeman's reputation had, however, begun to crumble, when the first anti-psychotic drugs reached the market and people began to realise that the operation had left lots of patients as vegetables or dead. he continued to work till the mid-sixties, and spent his retirement driving around america in his lobotomobile trying to make contact with former patients and prove the treatment had done them good. in 1972 he died of cancer. today, the treatment is universally regarded as barbaric and a crime against the patients, but back then it was THE big thing, performed in the us, the uk, ireland, germany, sweden, japan and many other countries.

today, much more refined brain surgery is used to treat extremely difficult cases of severe depression and ocd, and it does seem to help people. still, it pretty much started with a guy plunging icepicks into people's brains in a van.

and, voila, a lobotomised brain:


anyway, i thought that was quite interesting.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:09 am; edited 6 times in total

 
ElizabethSterling
218855.  Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:53 pm Reply with quote

Isn't that a lobectomised brain and not a lobotomised one? I always thought that cutting a part out was lobectomy and seperating the two halves was lobotomy.

Still, utterly chilling story and fascinating. I feel educated and a little nauseus. Thanks for sharing it!

 
AlmondFacialBar
218860.  Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:03 pm Reply with quote

cutting a part out is a lobectomy, yes. but the bits missing there weren't lobectomised, they just withered and died after freeman or one of his colleagues had inserted their ice pick and wiggled it around a bit, thus severing nerves and turning a substantial amount of brain tissue into mush.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
ElizabethSterling
218864.  Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:06 pm Reply with quote

I think my organs just retreated further in to the depths of my body...

 
AlmondFacialBar
218871.  Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:17 pm Reply with quote

oh, severing the two halves of the brain is, btw, a corpus callosotomy.

and thanks to the wikipedia article i found that in i've just found another medical impossibility in house. *tut*

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Frances
219033.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:08 am Reply with quote

Dear AFB, I'd be interested to know what is the medical impossibility in your house?

 
Tas
219066.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:54 am Reply with quote

Getting AFB away from the Tellyvisual Device when 'House' is showing?

:-)

Tas

 
AlmondFacialBar
219098.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:07 am Reply with quote

exactly, tas... :-P

and the medical impossiblity in the television drama commonly known as house was that the patient was able to button his shirt after having half his brain removed. hemispherectomy in adults usually leads to hemiplegia, sez wikipedia...

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Tas
219108.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:34 am Reply with quote

Perhaps it was a functional hemispherectomy as (according to Wikipedia) that has replaced the removal of half the brain, these days. That is the removal of the temporal lobe only.

:-)

Tas

 
AlmondFacialBar
219112.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:36 am Reply with quote

no, it was an actual hemispherectomy, house said explicitly that half the guy's brain would be removed, and he gave sound medical reasons for it. (or as sound as they ever get anyway) and they definitely took out massive chunks of tissue during the operation. so - BOLLOCKS! ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
samivel
219120.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:42 am Reply with quote

Quite - I say you should boycott the show until they learn some proper medicine.

 
Tas
219129.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:52 am Reply with quote

However,

Quote:
hemispherectomy in adults usually leads to hemiplegia, sez wikipedia...


So maybe he was lucky, as only TV-Hopsital patients can be...

:-)

Tas

 
AlmondFacialBar
219141.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:08 am Reply with quote

samivel - no way! the medical hogwash is half the fun!

tas - nope, the possibility was never mentioned. and sure as hell, even if house wouldn't have, foreman would?

btw, can i just mention that i never intended for this thread to turn out this way? *rolls eyes* ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
markvent
219172.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:23 am Reply with quote

AlmondFacialBar wrote:
no, it was an actual hemispherectomy, house said explicitly that half the guy's brain would be removed, and he gave sound medical reasons for it. (or as sound as they ever get anyway) and they definitely took out massive chunks of tissue during the operation. so - BOLLOCKS! ;-)

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Whilst the idea that a partially crippled Doctor, who pops Vicodin pills like they are tic-tacs having the mental agility and ability to puzzle out all these extremely unlikely conditions all the whilst surrounded by a team of what are essentially idiot savants, who seem to spasmodically lurch from supposed diagnosis to supposed diagnosis and hack away at patients and alter their medication every 5 minutes with impunity, in between running countless tests is completely realistic ... as you put it AFB .. BOLLOCKS!

/sarcasm

Mark.

 
AlmondFacialBar
219218.  Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:20 am Reply with quote

to be honest, i don't really see how being partially crippled (whatever that is - either he's crippled or he's not) comes into it. the last time i checked, the ability for abstract thought was located in the frontal lobe, not in the quadriceps muscles, and for all i can see his frontal lobe is in perfect working order. as for the vicodin, there are millions and millions of functioning addicts out there, who perform well in their jobs, make their meals and pay their bills. as long as you keep them well supplied with their drug of choice they'll be just fine. so, whatever about the rest, and i do agree that there is plenty of stuff to complain about regarding realism in house, the character as such is fairly sound. and his team has never really struck me as idiots savants, not since season 2 anyway.

and now for steering this back on topic - 40 or 50 years ago he'd have been considered an excellent candidate for a lobotomy.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 

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