Exposure of VA’s Lobotomy Program Outrages Veterans

WSJ Lobotomy Files

“The doctor gave an ice pick to another MD, not a surgeon. They placed the ice pick beneath the eye lids and pushed the ice pick into the frontal lobes of this veteran’s brain.”

One veteran cited that visual as something that stood out from the Lobotomy Files that have been featured on the Wall Street Journal.

Journalist Michael Phillips covered the story for WSJ and assembled one of the most shocking reports I have read in a long time.

For those of you who have yet to see it, The Lobotomy Files is a multipart research piece about the lobotomies the Department of Veterans Affairs forced onto veterans following WWII.

I included an excerpt below to illustrate the shocking nature of the entire piece. While reading it, I encourage you to ponder the following, “If they did this back then, what experiments are they conducting now on veterans?”

Part I is titled, The Forgotten Soldiers. It begins:

Roman Tritz’s memories of the past six decades are blurred by age and delusion. But one thing he remembers clearly is the fight he put up the day the orderlies came for him.

“They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” says Mr. Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot. “To hell with them.”

The orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned Mr. Tritz to the floor, he recalls. He fought so hard that eventually they gave up. But the orderlies came for him again on Wednesday, July 1, 1953, a few weeks before his 30th birthday.

This time, the doctors got their way.

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.

The VA doctors considered themselves conservative in using lobotomy. Nevertheless, desperate for effective psychiatric treatments, they carried out the surgery at VA hospitals spanning the country, from Oregon to Massachusetts, Alabama to South Dakota.

Source: Wall Street Journal


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