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November 6, 1954


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.; Huntington, W. Va.; Spencer, W. Va.; Weston, W. Va.; Lakin, W. Va.; Barboursville, W. Va.

JAMA. 1954;156(10):939-943. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950100015007

The West Virginia Board of Control authorized a lobotomy project in the state hospitals in 1952. During 12 days in the summer of that year 228 patients were subjected to transorbital lobotomy. There were four fatalities, two of them due to hemorrhage and two to dehydration as proved by necropsy. A year later 85 of the patients operated on were out of the hospital. Most of these, as well as all the hospitalized ones, were studied from the standpoint of social adjustment. This was a major project, some pilot studies in previous years having yielded promising results. The program did not meet with wholehearted acceptance by relatives of patients, so that a control group was available whose relatives refused permission for operation. This control group numbered 202 patients. One year later five of these patients were out of the hospital, and two had died. Of the 195 patients remaining in

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