Walter Freeman, a neurologist and psychiatrist, wanted to find a way to reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms. At the time (pre 1950 psychiatric medicine), shock treatment and isolation were the only forms of treatment available.
In partnership with neurosurgeon James Watts, Freeman adopted the surgical technique of a little known Portuguese physician, rechristened it lobotomy , and began performing the operation in the United States. In time, he transformed lobotomy into a controversial outpatient procedure, traveled the world performing psychosurgeries, and devoted his life to tracking the recovery of his patients. Meanwhile, his personal life collapsed around him. (lobotomist.com