Walter Jackson Freeman (1895 – 1972)
Tom Waits famously said that he’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. Many of us like to give a piece of our mind but not in the way the latest practitioner of quackery to come under our microscope, Walter Jackson Freeman, intended.
A prominent neurologist and psychiatrist, Freeman popularised the lobotomy by making it easy and convenient. During his long career he performed 3,439 lobotomies. He was encouraged to embark upon a career performing these brutal surgical procedures when he discovered that chimpanzees became subdued when their frontal lobes were damaged, with a colleague, James Watts, he started experimenting on brains supplied by the local morgue. Freeman believed that a lobotomy was effective because it severed the connections between the frontal lobes and the thalamus of which the mentally ill were over endowed and which was thought to…
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