The Lobotomist

The Lobotomist

DVD - 2008
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The medical procedure, lobotomy, was considered a groundbreaking procedure that promised hope to the most distressed mentally ill patients and their families. What began as an operation of last resort was soon being performed at some fifty state asylums, often with devastating results. The neurologist, Walter Freeman, in little more than a decade after his rise to fame, was decried as a moral monster, and that the lobotomy was one of the most barbaric mistakes of modern medicine. Through interviews with former patients and their families, students, and medical historians, get an unprecedented look at one of the darkest chapters in psychiatric history.
Publisher: [Boston, MA] : WGBH Educational Foundation ; [Alexandria, VA] : Distributed by PBS Home Video, c2008.
Edition: Widescreem format.
ISBN: 9780793694099
Branch Call Number: DVD 617.4809 LOBOTOMI
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (60 min.) : sound, color and black and white ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: El-Hai, Jack Lobotomist.


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Jun 27, 2016

Meet Dr. Walter Freeman, America's pioneer Lobotomist. With his trusty ice-pick firmly in hand (and the promise of a "quick fix"), Freeman arrogantly sought to solve all of the daunting problems of mental illness (throughout the 1940's and 1950's) with but a simple tap of his little hammer.

Throughout his 30+ years as a Lobotomist, Freeman (travelling far & wide) performed his miracle "4-minute" lobotomy operation on a staggering number of mental patients. This was an era in medical history when (like the witch hunts of the 17th Century and being burned at the stake) a person could be lobotomized (against their adamant protests) for showing even the slightest aberration from "normal" behaviour.

This riveting and often unsettling documentary from PBS is a truly fascinating and first-rate production that gives the viewer a close-up look at a very disturbing Neuro-Surgical procedure that prevailed all across America (for, literally, decades) and often led to tragic results.

*Note* - This documentary is not for the squeamish..... (Be sure to watch video-clip)

Dec 08, 2015

Not for the faint of heart, but an interesting film on the whole. It makes you wonder if the "doctor" did a lobotomy on himself before doing it on all his patients. Just another crazy medical procedure they used back in the day that harmed more than helped.

Jul 25, 2015

Dr. Freeman devised the procedure of hammering icepicks three or four inches into a patient's head through the eye sockets and blindly manipulating them to cut the brain circuits. The US medical establishment gave approval. Freeman performed the procedure on thousands of patients, usually destroying their individuality. Had he left them alone, they might have benefited from later, better therapies. But the damage from lobotomy was permanent.

May 12, 2013

I found this documentary to be pretty interesting. It's very sad in a way, because I can see how easily it would be to turn to a lobotomy as an option during that time. It also leaves you with a hint of paranoia that a similar event could appear again and makes you question the medical system. What may start out as a revolutionary idea, can quickly turn into a disaster. If it sounds too good to be true...


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