mickey nardo at one boring old man: on history
…What I took from that reading had to do with a topic well known to any practicing physician – Therapeutic Zeal. It’s the danger behind the Hippocratic Oath’s injunction to “Do No Harm.” These radical treatments were introduced for the devastating, often fatal illnesses only seen behind the walls of Asylums and State Hospitals. But with some successes, they were increasingly applied in patients with less debilitating illness or diagnoses. That’s what Therapeutic Zeal means, becoming too invested in treating and overlooking the dangers. In the case of lobotomy, Rosemary Kennedy, the younger sister of JFK, was a prime example. As best I can tell, her diagnosis was moderate mental retardation. In her early twenties, she was treated with lobotomy for behavioral problems. The consequences of the treatment became an additional lifelong disability, lasting until her death at age eighty-six – a tragedy.