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World Neurosurg. 2012 Mar-Apr;77(3-4):583-90. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2011.02.036. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

New evidence of prefrontal lobotomy in the last months of the illness of Eva Perón.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University, Yale Gamma Knife Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. nijensohn@aol.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To give validity to the claim that Eva Perón underwent a prefrontal lobotomy and/or another neurosurgical procedure.

METHODS:

1) Press interviews given by Dr. George Udvarhelyi, who passed away in 2010, were read and his statements were crosschecked with excerpts of his memoirs; 2) Searched for other oral and written evidence in Argentina; 3) Reviewed radiological evidence and recent revelations about her illness and death; and 4) Carried out historic review of prefrontal lobotomy as an accepted and established surgical treatment during the relevant time period and place.

RESULTS:

Udvarhelyi's assertion in a press interview that a prefrontal lobotomy was performed on Eva Perón is consistent with the history he penned in his memoirs. Interviews with individuals close to Eva conducted by historians, revealed a clinical picture compatible with side effects from such an operation. Comments from surgeon Dr. Ricardo Finochietto, leader of the group of physicians involved in Eva's medical care, provide further support that a neurosurgical procedure was performed. President Perón's orders and instructions to the medical team also support this allegation. Review of skull radiographs show findings compatible with burr holes. Photographs of the patient at the end of her illness show indentation at the coronal level. The alleged procedure was cutting edge of surgery in 1952. The Argentine neurosurgical establishment was up to par in psychosurgical developments and there were neurosurgeons close to Perón that could have performed the procedure in those circumstances.

CONCLUSIONS:

Evidence was found that gives validity to Dr. George Udvarhelyi's claim that Eva Perón underwent a neurosurgical prefrontal lobotomy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was done for treatment of pain, anxiety, and agitation secondary to uterine metastatic cancer before her death in 1952. Neurosurgeon Dr. James L. Poppen appears to have been involved in the case.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22079825
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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