From the Times:
By his early 40s, his depression had become so severe that he was institutionalized for more than a year. Senior psychiatrists recommended a lobotomy, but they were overruled by the young resident psychiatrist who had been assigned to his case, who insisted on electroshock therapy. By early 1974, it was clear that the treatment had been a success.
Lobotomies were used in the early- and mid-1900s to treat patients with severe schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, with doctors using a tool resembling an ice pick to alter the frontal lobes of the brain. This extreme method is rarely used anymore, now that medication has become a less risky and more effective way to treat mental illness.
Electroshock therapy is still used today in cases where other treatments aren’t successful. During the procedure, electric currents pass through the brain to trigger a brief seizure, which can change brain chemistry, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Nuland’s book, “How We Die,” was published in 1994 amid debates about the ethics of doctor-assisted suicide. His book explored what death means and what causes people to die. Nuland aimed to make death less frightening.
“How We Die” won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1994 and helped change perceptions about death in both the medical and non-medical communities.
Nuland was a clinical professor of surgery at Yale University and a surgeon at Yale-New Haven from 1962 to 1992, according to the Times.
He died of prostate cancer at the age of 83.
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