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Article
June 6, 1953

HAZARDS OF LOBOTOMY: STUDY OF TWO THOUSAND OPERATIONS

Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.
From the Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, George Washington University.

JAMA. 1953;152(6):487-491. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690060003002
Abstract

Lobotomy for the relief of mental disorders and pain has become such a widely used procedure that a statistical analysis of a substantial number of cases seems worth while as a means of clarifying the dangers inherent in this type of procedure. This paper deals with my personal experience, at first with Watts1 and later alone or with Williams,2 over the 16 year period from 1936 to 1952. In this report no attempt is made to evaluate the different types of operations from the standpoint of effectiveness but only from that of safety. The question concerns not only operative or postoperative death but also later fatalities from causes not directly linked with surgery and also complications and sequelae of lobotomy that have impaired the social effectiveness of the patient. Finally, some figures are given to show the hazards of delay in treating patients by this method.

The present

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