Last Resort: Psychosurgery and the Limits of Medicine

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 8, 2002 - Medical - 576 pages
During the 1940s and 1950s, tens of thousands of Americans underwent some form of psychosurgery; that is, their brains were operated upon for the putative purpose of treating mental illness. From today's perspective, such medical practices appear foolhardy at best, perhaps even barbaric; most commentators thus have seen in the story of lobotomy an important warning about the kinds of hazards that society will face whenever incompetent or malicious physicians are allowed to overstep the boundaries of valid medical science. Last Resort challenges the previously accepted psychosurgery story and raises new questions about what we should consider its important lessons.
 

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Contents

A Stab in the Dark
1
Psychiatrys Renaissance The Problem of Mental Disorder 19211935
18
Sufficient Promise John F Fulton and the Origins of Lobotomy
47
Certain Benefit Initial Impressions of the Operation
102
Active Treatment Somatic Therapy and State Hospital Reform
147
Human Salvage Why Psychosurgery Worked in 1949 and Not Now
194
Localizing Decisions Psychosurgery and the Art of Medicine
236
The Politics of Precision The Quest for a Better Lobotomy
318
The New Synthesis
401
Statistical Portrait of Psychosurgery at McLean Hospital 19381954
443
Codes of Patients and Physicians Cited in Chapters 3 and 6
448
Notes
453
Collections Cites
533
Annual Reports Examined
535
Index
537
Copyright

Medicine Controlled Psychiatrys Evolution as a Science and a Profession
362

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