Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Lobotomy: Howard Dully's Journey

My recent obsession has lead me to discover the man, Howard Dully, who as a child at age 12 received the transorbital or "ice pick" lobotomy. My friend Alison and I were more intriguiged than ever after watching the film Session 9, which takes place in an abandoned mental institution which we found out later has been demolished. I had heard of the term before but never really looked into it, I always remember Teenage Lobotomy too, by the Ramones. In 1946, a psychiatrist, Walter Freeman launched this radical new era of treatment of mental illness, Howard Dully was one of his youngest patients, which if you saw him today never knew he had a lobotomy done. In a few weeks I'm going to start Howard Dully's memoir, called My Lobotomy: A Memoir, I'm eager to learn about his childhood and the effects of his treatment. From what I've saw in a short interview segment, sounded like as a child he had a case of Attention Deficit Disorder and a crazy household to go along with it.

Freeman believed that mental illness was related to overactive emotions, and by cutting away the brain he cut away the feelings. It is really hard to fathom this treatment, the thought of removing a live piece of the brain in hopes it will change the person for better, I think it is impossible, I believe by removing a piece of the living you in turn are killing the brain and the machine that controls everything in the body. I think it would only kill what is alive. Many cases had reported some patients had a positive result but only after a few months even weeks they were back to their old selves. Death was even a result in botched surgeries and Freeman's last surgery ended in a brain hemorrhage.

I have mixed feelings about the whole procedure, I guess one, Freeman became obsessed with it and before his death had performed around 2,500 lobotomies on patients, during the time when the mentally ill were shipped to institutions and shunned from society. I found this great documentary on this subject called: The Lobotomist. More to come on my discoveries about Howard Dully, Alison and I are hoping to find more films on this treatment, biographies and even surviving lists of lobotomist patients, if you know of any send them my way.


1 comment

The Hand Of Fatima Design said...

my mom was all fucked up over this book for a while. so sad and horrid what these thieves do.

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