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The lobotomies of Rosemary Kennedy, Jean, and Howard Dully represent the rise, height, and decline of psychosurgery as a treatment for mental illness. In 1941, Rosemary Kennedy’s lobotomy represented the shame of mental illness and the lack of public support toward psychosurgery. Rosemary was also subjected to the traditional frontal lobotomy which involved cutting open the skull. Jean’s lobotomy, performed in 1954, at the height of psychosurgery was emblematic of the common acceptance of the treatment as a cure for schizophrenia. She received the transorbital lobotomy characteristic of the peak in psychosurgery. Finally, Howard Dully’s lobotomy in 1960 represented the decline of public support for lobotomies and Dr. Freeman’s desperate attempt to keep lobotomies in the foreground of psychiatric treatment.  Although all three patients were lobotomized by Dr. Freeman, all had symptoms and side effects typical of all patients undergoing lobotomies. Thus, these patients’ experiences are characteristic of all lobotomized patients and serve as an accurate, historical representation of the usage and outcomes of the surgical treatment for mental illness.


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