Friday, December 12, 2008

My Lobotomy


Go to and click on "listen now." This is approximately 22 minutes long and is a fascinating (also somewhat disconcerting and disturbing) story of a man who was lobotomized as a child.

When done, post your thoughts on the procedure. However be sure to carefully listen to the parts of the story when Howard Dully talks to people who felt the procedure had benefits.


lovejonas91 said...

As I started listening... the thought of an ice pick lobotomy was disturbing.

I can't believe this was actually a procedure done before.... this is inhumane.

Howard Dully said that "something is missing from his soul" from the lobotomy.

He also said he was happy what his father did and how he was a "pioneer lobotomist".

He said there was no other way to treat people, psychiatric institutions were over-crowded, and it was in demand.

I can’t believe the Doctor Freeman told Howard’s parents that he would operate on him but NOT to tell him. So help me if I was in Howard’s place and I didn’t know I was going to have a trans-orbital lobotomy.

Howard Dully mentioned he was so happy to talk to his dad about his lobotomy.

Dully did mention that, "I'll never know what I lost in those 10 minutes with Dr. Freeman and his ice pick. By some miracle it didn't turn me into a zombie, crush my spirit or kill me. But it did affect me. Deeply. Walter Freeman's operation was supposed to relieve suffering. In my case it did just the opposite. Ever since my lobotomy I've felt like a freak, ashamed."

I DO NOT think it was right for Dully to suffer all his life because of this stupid idea of lobotomy.

What I liked about Dully was his attitude towards his lobotomy. He said that, "I know my lobotomy didn't touch my soul. For the first time I feel no shame. I am, at last, at peace."


McCall Theriault said...

This was a very weird story. It was kind of disgusting and I couldn't finish it. I felt bad that he went these 45 years without asking any questions. When he did ask them though and his dad said that it was because his step mom wanted him to and that he had been overpowered him an I thought that that was a bunch of crap. In those days a man was suppose to have a say and most of it so to say that to his son and even after all those year made me very upset!

Also, I want to know why they did this surgery? I know that the step mother didn't like him and things like that but like he could have become a vegetable!! I was just overall epaulet by what was said in the story!!

yipf said...

Mr. Yip

McCall you really should finish listening to the entire story. It is disturbing but I agree with Natalie about Mr. Dully's attitude. He must be a tremendously strong man to come through this with such a wonderful and forgiving attitude (although I personally do not think I could forgive my father for allowing it to happen to me).

One other thing - watch the language - this is still school and the world can be watching!

Anonymous said...

After listing to the story of Howard Dully, I was surprised to find out that because the step mother of Howard didn't want Howard in her life and interrupt her relationship with Howard's father.

It bothered me more when Howard's dad told Howard that he was manipulated by his wife. This makes no sense to let YOUR SON into an operation that could kill him. There was more than being manipulated involved in the step mother's plan.

I was satisfied to find out that Howard did finally sit down and talk with his dad about his Lobotomy. I find it a very healthy thing to do, and even though that family should have talked about this earlier, like before the operation, or at least a short time after the operation. When he became of a mature enough age would have been perfect too. Not talk about it 48 years later. It was better they had it late, than never.

It was disturbing to hear Howard read that he was not to be told about his Lobotomy. Did the family really think that he wouldn't find out about it? One way or another, he would have been told about it, or maybe have had it brought up some how. It's terrible to keep such a cruel task from someone who it pertains to. I would have been very upset.

But what interest's me is how would they do this operation. Howard's father, when looking at the pictures from the operation, noted how calm Howard looked. Did they use any sedation on Howard? What was the outcome that Dr. Freeman was trying to achieve? Was Dr. Freeman's goal to turn Howard into a veggie?


MLRoxYourSox said...

Ok. That was the most horrific thing that I have ever had to listen to! They put ice picks under your eye lids, and go into your brain and twirl the pick....DISGUSTING! I would love to never listen to that again.

The people who thought that the procedure had benefits are insane..and does this procedure not hurt? It seemed like they never said anything about anyone ever being in any amount of pain during it.

I also think that Howard's Dad is a complete why would you let your 12 yr old kid be operated on when nothing is wrong with him? And he said he was "manipulated" by his wife....Give me a break!

This was absolutely terrible and thankfully it does not exist anymore because I would be horrified to see people turning into vegetables!

Wynne said...

A mad scientist obsessed with the brain.

An estranged and moronic father who doesn’t truly care.

An evil stepmother with plans to get rid of her new child.

A broken man on a search for truth and redemption.

What is this? I felt like I was listening to some wacked cross between Frankenstein , Cinderella, and every other countless tragedy evolving evil plots against children and others. Except this is real. This is reality not fiction. Something is seriously wrong with people!

I can’t believe procedures like this actually happened. I don’t understand how anyone could ever possibly believe sticking a metal spike into someone’s head would cure them of whatever illness they had. It’s crazy! Insane! I thought crap like this was make-believe. And to any of those freaks who said the procedure had benefits – They’re all nuts! – They should be the ones getting ice picks shoved up through their eyes.

I feel terrible for this Howard Dully guy. It’s a really sad story. Really sad. A twelve year old kid going through all that – ice picks and evil stepmothers. It’s sick and wrong. But the guy should really try and realize that his father is a moron. But, i'm glad he figured everything out.

Again, all of this this is crazy. "Surgery for the soul?" Absolutley insane.

Marissa Mardo said...

As disgusting and disturbing as the lobotomy procedure was, I am not completely shocked that this procedure took place years ago. Since then, doctors have come up with many different operations and procedures that are also disgusting. Today, there are many procedures that doctors perform that gross me out!!

However, I feel that the lobotomy was often times performed in unnessary situations to cure non-threatening illnesses. It seemed like whenever someone was sufferring from some type of illness, Doctor Freeman thought that an ice pick lobotomy was the answer.

In Howard Dully's situation, I feel bad that he had to have a lobotomy at the age of 12, and was never informed about it. If it was suppose to be done for a positive reason to help him, then why was it kept such a secret??

Receiving a lobotomy was suppose to be done to relieve the pain and suffering from one illness, but following the precedure, patients were given a new pain and illness. While some said the lobotomy had a positive effect because it eliminated their original illness, it did not cure their problem because they were now faced with a life long illness of pain and suffering.

I felt bad for Howard Dully when he said, "By some miracle it didnt turn me into a zombie, crush my spirit or kill me. But it did affect me. Deeply. Walter Freeman's operation was suppose to relieve suffering. In my case it did just the opposite. Ever since my lobotomy I've felt like a freak, ashamed." I'm glad Dully finally got to sit down with his father and get the answers he's always wanted.

Michael said...

It kinda of sad listening to this, iam surprise he could accualy go forth and want to learn about hsi lobotomy. I find it interesting that at this time there really wasnt any sort of medicine. to some the lobotomy acualy helped like the grandma with the head ack but i can deffinatly tell something is wrong with Dully he speaks in a ver mono tone, i might be wrong but it could also be something else. iam glad he did his researched and actualy was one of the first to talk about his situation, its to bad he had to suffer his life with this.

Katherine said...

I honestly didn't think I was going to listen to all of this, but as it got going it held my attention. It's disturbing to think about, especially when the picture is right there in front of you of Mr. Dully getting the lobotomy. For him to be able to go on this quest, he has to be an incredibly strong individual. Hearing him break down during the conversation he had with his father came as a surprise to me; I'd seen what he looked like, heard how he sounded, and created a picture in my head of a man putting on a facade to the world of his strength. Here, though, he actually broke down. He's not afraid to hide his feelings, and I truly respect everything that he did and has been through. I hate thinking of how his fate was decided by his evil mother and how his father even admitted to being manipulated by her, that he had no part in this. I don't think that's true of course, but as Howard Dully was finished reading the doctors notes on him he made the point that there was no way. There was no way for him to escape this fate. He was a 12 year old boy and there were too many powerful adults against him. The reasons why he got the surgery were ridiculous and it's clear his stepmom simply did not like him being around. I do not need to know her to know that I hate that woman. I wish Mr. Dully were given a better fate as a young boy, but I think what he did with the problems he was faced with is tremendous. He can really give anyone hope. Yay for him.

- Katherine Gannon

Anonymous said...

Lobatomy is a disgusting procedure that completely changes who you are as a person, it should never be done EVER

Leslie said...

Before even listening to the NPR report, Lobotomy has freaked me out. It's scary how they thought they were doing the right thing when in actuality it wasn't. They were destroying people's lives, turning them into zombies.
What really bothered me though was how Howard easily forgave his family for what they did to him. For me, I don't think that I'll forgive them that easily. I wouldn't be able to forgive his father.
His father allowed some woman, who wasn't even his real mother to take away his life. Just because she didn't like him. It's quite an extreme way to show your dislike toward someone.
Having a lobotomy performed on someone is sick and I'm glad that these procedures aren't done any longer.

Ben Pickering said...

Dear all,
Wow! Did I learn alot. Before even viewing this clip I had no idea what lobotomy is. Now and do and realease that it can be wrong. Did it even work at all? Anyways I felt that it was wrong in Dully's case as he had no knowledge of what was going on and still has little knowledge to this day. Dully felt what was done to him was wrong and I would agree. This is not right and I would compare it to human testing rather than animal testing. Also, I wish there was video clips as just listening tended to be hard to follow, due to I had no knowledge of lobotomy previous to viewing this.
Stay True Yall,
Benjamin Miguel

Howard D said...

Very interesting blog and all the amazing responses. I do not think I have found another blog with so much response on the subject.
I would love to address all the questions but that would be hard to do here. We did write a book that gives more insight than the 22 minutes of radio time we had.
Thanks for Listening and keep on reading....

Howard Dully

mishy91 said...

Things that don't make sense to us today, made sense to people back during that time. A perfect example of this is when doctors used to bleed people, to take out the bad blood. And I'm positive that in the future, everyone will be viewing the procedures we perform today as dangerous and uneeded. But the fact they did not tell Howard about the lobotomy was completely unethical and unconstitutional if you ask me. Thats a law suit waiting to happen. At least thats what I would do if anyone did that to me.

-Michelle :)

laurynp said...

While I was listening to this i couldn't help but cringe. I thought this was repulsive and very disturbing. Before listening to this I had no idea what a lobotomy, especially an ice pick lobotomy was. After listening to it I now understand what it is.

After understanding it i still believe it is inhumane and find myself wondering if it is even legal to do something this cruel and sick. I cant even imagine the pain of having an ice pick lodged into my brain and "around like and egg beater" as someone in the story said.

I also found this story very creepy. It has a dark gloomy feeling to it. It felt as though i was watching a creepy movie or documentary. I felt afraid listening to this, it very much creeped me out. I still have many questions though, after listening to this, why is it done, what exactly is it for, why is it humane to do, and why are people so proud to talk about their lobotomies?

I am proud for Dully that he is brave and confident to talk and go into detail about his lobotomy. Although i didn't particularly enjoy this story, I am happy for this man and his own happiness.

Matt L said...

After hearing about Howard Dully's labotomy, I thought it was horrible that they would perform a procedure on someone and plan on never telling that person what had happened. I feel bad that he now has to live every day knowing he is not the same as everyone else. I was happy to see that he sticks up for himself against the people who still argue that his operation was beneficial. I give him credit for choosing to put it behind him and still try to live a normal life everyday.