The Community Courier (Adelaide), Wed 25 Sep 1974, p1


- Local man accuses Adelaide doctors


"Some doctors in Adelaide are performing psychosurgery," a Fullarton man claimed today.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights chairman Mr. Andrew Youngman believes that psychosurgery has taken place in Adelaide.

Psychosurgery is the practice of cutting away brain tissue - in an attempt to change behavior patters in disturbed people.

Mr. Youngman, who recently returned from abroad, where he learned that psychosurgery was used extensively by order of a patient's psychiatrist, spoke about a young Unley woman who underwent such an operation last year.

"A woman rang me after I had spoken on a radio talkback program. She asked what could be done about her daughter who had been advised to have brain surgery by her psychiatrist," Mr. Youngman said.

He alleged that the daughter was then 28 and had been frequenting the psychiatrist's rooms to find relief from her bad nerves.

"Steadily her health worsened, until she finally left home," he said.

She wouldn't tolerate her mother and only occasionally saw her father and brother.

"Then she began to fear germs and wouldn't let relatives into her home," Mr. Youngman said.

When she visited her parents' home she refused to eat, drink or touch anything.


"She was put on annapulum, then a new drug from the UK," he said.

Mr Youngman said that a naturopath had advised her mother that the drug could make her daughter suicidal.

He added that the mother rang her daughter's psychiatrist and gave him this advice.

"The psychiatrist ignored it saying that her daughter was already in such a state," he said.

"He said that they were then planning the operation and that it could prove fatal," Mr Youngman added.

"The girl used to fear operations but had gained confidence in her psychiatrist and was convinced that such action was necessary," he said.

Mr. Youngman said the operation was performed in June 1973 and that it was not successful.

The woman was still under constant psychiatric care.

He said he was convinced that other similar cases of psychosurgery had taken place in Adelaide during the past year.

Psychosurgery was the brainwave of a Portuguese neurologist Dr. Antonio Moniz in 1935, according to Mr. Youngman.


"It was first performed on monkeys," he said.

"The only perceptible change in the monkeys' behaviour seemed to be that they became prone to sexually attacking inanimate objects."

Mr. Youngman said that according to a leading US opponent to psychosurgery, Dr. Peter Breggin, experiments in this form of brain surgery were carried out by the Nazis in Germany just before the advent of the infamous death camps.

During his one-year fact-finding tour of USA and Europe Mr. Youngman learned that it was a growing trend for psychiatrists to revert to psychosurgery.

"It's real 'Clockwork Orange' stuff," he said.

"As a freedom loving Australian, I don't want the trend to grow in Australia."

[photo of man in front of Adelaide CoS sign] Mr Andrew Youngman, a working Scientologist and Citizens Commission on Human Rights chairman.

What they say

The Adelaide psychiatrists I spoke to this week all agreed that psychosurgery was, like any other surgery, a "last resort".

Although psychosurgery was an infrequent event here in Adelaide, no one refuted that it had taken place.

The consensus of opinion was that the operation, although not illegal, wasn't performed on a patient without the necessary permission.

Moreover, it was never performed without "every other possible alternative" having been tried.

SA branch secretary of Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Dr. K. M. Lashchuk said he could recall only one, "perhaps two", cases of psychosurgery during his five years in mental health services.

Dr. Lashchuk, a psychiatrist at the Wakefield Street Child Guidance Centre, added that as far as he could recall such operations happened "a long time ago".

Health Minister Mr. Don Banfield said there had been "no psychosurgery performed in mental health services for many years."