A Question of Consent—Coercion and Consent to Lobotomy, 1946–1958 [BOOK CHAPTER]

A Question of Consent—Coercion and Consent to Lobotomy, 1946–1958 [BOOK CHAPTER]
Jesper Vaczy Kragh
Lobotomy Nation, 10 October 2021; pp 291-335 [Springer]
Abstract
This chapter investigates a topic that has not been addressed in the literature on psychosurgery, i.e. the question of consent to lobotomy. The performance of lobotomy required the psychiatrist to obtain the consent of the patient, or his or her next of kin, to the treatment. The chapter analyses the role played by the consent requirement when neurosurgery was being considered. The consent issue gives an insight into the patient-doctor relationship and how psychiatrists interpreted patients’ rights in the 1940s and 1950s. In addition, consent practices show that there were tensions between psychiatrists and neurosurgeons who had different views about this. The consent question was significant to the discontinuation of psychosurgery, since the initial criticism of the treatment was raised due to complaints concerning lacking consent.

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