Here is a brief description of this horrid procedure:
The infamous transorbital lobotomy was a “blind” operation in that the surgeon did not know for certain if he had severed the nerves or not. A sharp, ice-pick like object would be inserted through the eye socket between the upper lid and eye. When the doctor thought he was at about the right spot, he would hit the end of the instrument with a hammer.
The number of these ghastly procedures performed is even more revolting:
Quantitatively, most lobotomy procedures were done in the United States, where approximately 40,000 persons were lobotomized. In Great Britain procedures were performed on 17,000 people, and the three Scandinavian countries had a combined figure of approximately 9,300 lobotomies. Scandinavian hospitals lobotomized 2.5 times as many people per capita as hospitals in the United States. Sweden lobotomized at least 4,500 people between 1944 and 1966, mainly women and also including young children.
Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of President John F. Kennedy, was given a lobotomy when her father complained to doctors about the 23-year-old's moodiness. Dr. Walter Freeman personally performed the procedure. Rather than any improvement, however, the lobotomy reduced Rosemary to an infantile mentality including incontinence. Her verbal skills were reduced to unintelligible babble. Her father hid the nature of Rosemary's affliction for years and described it as the result of mental retardation. Rosemary's sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics in her honor in 1968.
Lobotomies have been featured in several literary and cinematic presentations that both reflected society's attitude towards the procedure and, at times, changed it.