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.