24 October 2006
On January 17, 1946 a psychiatrist named Walter J. Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day he performed the first-ever transorbital or “ice pick” lobotomy in his Washington, D.C. office. After rendering his patient unconscious through electroshock, Freeman inserted an ice pick above the patient's eyeball, banged it through the eye socket into the brain, and then made cuts in the frontal lobes. Produced by David Isay of SoundPortraits, this documentary has been called "the most chilling radio story I have ever heard." Remember, November is David Isay Month on the Listening Lounge. In coming weeks, you'll hear documentaries on life in the ghetto, the emotional turmoil of murdering inmates on death row and other topics. Stay tuned.