After World War II, the U.S. government decided that the best way to treat at least 2000 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder was to give them a frontal lobotomy.
According to the Wall Street Journal, newly-uncovered documents reveal the bizarre practice was considered “psychiatric care” for American servicemen.
“They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” Roman Tritz, a World War II pilot told the Wall Street Journal. “To hell with them.”
Tritz recalls fighting off several orderlies at a U.S. veterans hospital, but they came for him again on July 1, 1953 and part of his brain was surgically removed by doctors, right before he turned 30.
“They just wanted to ruin my head, it seemed to me,” added Tritz, who is now 90 years old. “Somebody wanted to.”
The Wall Street Journal cited government records, inter-office correspondence and letters that showed veterans, who were diagnosed with homosexuality, schizophrenia, depression and psychosis, had the primitive brain surgery done to them between April 1947 and Sept. 1950.
Several VA medical professionals opposed the brutal procedure, which was done by jamming an ice pick-like medical instrument into a service member’s brain via his eye socket.
The main advocate of the strange surgery was Dr. Walter J. Freeman, who once boasted: “A world that once seemed the abode of misery, cruelty and hate is now radiant with sunshine and kindness to [veterans].”
In response to the Wall Street Journal report, the Department of Veterans Affairs claimed it did not have any records of the lobotomies and tried to downplay the surgery, which left men as overgrown children who could not care for themselves; some even died during the procedures.
“In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, VA and other physicians throughout the United States and the world debated the utility of lobotomies,” the Department of Veterans Affairs’ statement read. “The procedure became available to severely ill patients who had not improved with other treatments. Within a few years, the procedure disappeared within VA, and across the United States, as safer and more effective treatments were developed.”
However, the procedure wasn't just “available,” it was forced on many vets, including Tritz.
The Army Times reports that in addition to the lobotomies, VA hospital staff would spray veterans with powerful jets of alternating hot and cold water to “stimulate their nerves.”
The VA’s use of lobotomies was apparently known among medical professionals in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and even cited in medical papers, but was not widely reported on until now.
For many, the Internet is a means of keeping up with friends and family, checking the latest news updates, watching popular TV shows and movies, or surfing around various websites. For others, it’s somehow become an unbreakable addiction that’s led some to take their own lives.
For people with a legitimate addiction to the Internet, their lives become unmanageable because of their need to live in a virtual world. Now, there is hope for those suffering. Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania has recently opened a rehab center for those dealing with Internet addiction.
The 10-day in patient treatment program that the medical center offers to those diagnosed with severe Internet addiction will consist of a strict digital detox (patients cannot use phones, tablets, and the Internet for at least 72 hours), attend therapy sessions, and meet for educational courses, all in an effort to help treat their addiction.
"I've studied Internet addiction since 1995," said Dr. Kimberly Young, director of the Internet addiction program at Bradford, in a recent statement. "Back then, people laughed when I told them what I did. Today, it is incredible to see my life's work become a reality that will help so many people in need of treatment."
Bradford Regional Medical Center says that while Internet addiction has yet to be classified as a mental illness (the treatment program is not covered by insurance because of this), Internet Gaming Disorder was recently included in Section 3 of DSM-V, the bible of American psychiatric medicine.
“In consultation with Dr. Young, we have developed an innovative and timely program to address this very real and serious disorder,” said Dr. Roger Laroche, medical director of Behavioral Health Services at Bradford. “Utilizing specialized techniques, patients receive psychiatric evaluations, medically supervised treatment, individual and group psychotherapy, and family consultation.”
Many of the patients that will enter the treatment program at Bradford Regional Medical Center spend most of their time awake on the Internet, whether it’s playing online games, being a part of an online community, or other online applications. Right now, the program is only taking up to 4 people, but they hope to expand in the future.
“BRMC is proud to launch the first program of its kind in the US,” said Timothy J. Finan, CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of Bradford. “Our mission is to help others and we have a vision to offer a national program that will help so many with state-of-the-art facilities and a team of qualified experts.”
Private Manning’s trial for espionage and treason may have ended, but the former soldier's legal battle for hormone treatment has just begun.
As if the trial had not been dramatic enough, earlier this morning Manning's lawyer confirmed that his client suffers from gender dysphoria and has assumed the female identity of “Chelsea Manning.”
Mere hours after receiving a sentence of 35 years, the longest ever served for an intelligence leak, Manning’s attorney Daniel Coomb reported that the private will be appealing to the president of the United States to commute the sentence, if not pardon the conviction entirely. Then, mere hours after that dramatic revelation, Manning wrote in a statement to NBC Today:
“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female.”
Manning admits these feelings have been around since childhood, but that the legal team decided to keep the details private until after the trial. Along with the revelation, several photos of Manning dressed as a female have surfaced from the trial.
Though the 25-year-old waited a lifetime to begin this transformation, the physical change will only now officially begin. This is obviously somewhat problematic for an inmate of federal prison.
Manning’s attorneys used gender dysphoria during the trial, but after the conviction, argued that it didn't drive the actions that brought them there. Copmbs reports that the defense came from, "The stress that he was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time. It was never an excuse because that's not what drove his actions. What drove his actions was a strong moral compass."
Private Manning fought for this country in Iraq, fought for convictions in detainment, fought for personal defense in trial, and now will fight for identity in prison.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is contemplating whether to sign a medial marijuana bill legalizing the drug for children. Brian Wilson wrote a letter to the governor earlier this month imploring him to make the potent plant legal for children like his 2-year-old daughter Vivian. Vivian suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe and potentially deadly form of epilepsy that causes her to have multiple seizures every day.
Wilson confronted Christie during a campaign stop earlier this week.
“Please don’t let my daughter die, governor. Don’t let my daughter die,” Wilson begged Christie on Wednesday. “I was wondering what the holdup is. It’s been like two months now.”
“These are complicated issues,” Christie responded.
“Very simple issue,” Wilson shot back.
“No, I know you think it’s simple … I know you think it’s simple and it’s not,” Christie said.
Christie then said he would be making his decision in the next few days.
“I’ll have a decision by Friday," he said. "I wish for the best for you, your daughter and your family and I’m going to do what I think is best for the people of the state.”
Her parents say that a strain of marijuana that does not give users a high is the only thing that can treat Vivian. The state’s current medical marijuana law prevents that from happening,
The State Legislature has passed the bill, Christie just has to sign it, CBS Local reported.
“I want to make sure that if we do it, we do it in a way that’s helpful to children – does not reduce any of the requirements of the program to make sure that this does not go down a slippery slope,” Christie has said in the past.
“Every day, she’s dying more and more and he keeps on wanting to think about this bill,” Wilson said.