The Story Behind the WSJ Lobotomy Files Story

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1464 Veterans Lobotomized

Sometimes the story behind the story is the most interesting. The backstory of how WSJ reporters Michael Phillips came into the Lobotomy Files is such a story.

Phillips took time out to talk with Reddit to explain how it all went down. Readers wrote in and Phillips took the time to answer the questions:

Reader question: How did you stumble upon this story?

Michael Phillips: I spoke to a woman whose uncle had been lobotomized by the VA after the war. She had a few 1940s medical journal articles about the practice. She suspected that if it happened to her uncle, it probably happened to many others. She was absolutely right.

Reader question: What is the most shocking fact you uncovered while working on this series?

Phillips: It was probably the casual experiment done an Oregon VA hospital, where they took four mentally ill vets and gave them fake lobotomies to see if there was a placebo effect. There wasn’t. So they the doctor went back and gave them real lobotomies. I’d add one other shocking thing. The Roanoke VA hospital listed two vets lobotomized for “Psychosis, with psychotic personality (homosexuality).”

In all, Phillips covered seven questions. Read more here: WSJ’s Michael Phillips Discusses “The Lobotomy Files” on Reddit.

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1 Comment

  1. There is nothing that the military or V.A. will do anymore. The very fact they tested LSD on military should be a clue they would do anything, then of course lie about it for years! Just as I learned, they “sanitize records” I asked a person “in the know” who stated yes, it was done, and it was wrong!” This isn’t ancient history, this is from the 1990’s. So, I have to wonder, were my records sanitized as well? I mean after I took a beating, they asked if I wanted out of the Navy. I said no. But lacked faith right then and there as a young 18 year old that the Navy cared about my well being. And to be asked, “did you ask for counseling?” Like sure, I knew I could do that right? It is a battle, but I intend on winning, and I don’t give a damn how long it takes. You are playing with fire, and like a Phoenix I will rise from your ashes!

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