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NPR had an emotionally devastating segment on the story of the Transorbital (or “Ice Pick”) Lobotomy created by Dr. Walter Freeman in 1946. It was told by Howard Dully, who received an Ice Pick Lobotomy by Freeman in 1960 when Dully was 12 years old.
In Dully’s words: “If you saw me you’d never know I’d had a lobotomy. The only thing you’d notice is that I’m very tall and weigh about 350 pounds. But I’ve always felt different — wondered if something’s missing from my soul. I have no memory of the operation, and never had the courage to ask my family about it. So two years ago I set out on a journey to learn everything I could about my lobotomy.”
I remember joking about lobotomies as a kid, but I have never really thought hard about them. I doubt I’ll joke about them again after listening to this story.