4/30/2001 – Brain Death in Carbon Dioxide Treatment for Depression

Every time I think it can’t get much worse, it does! And every time I think I
have finally heard it all, I hear something like this case reported in the NY
Post as brain dead from carbon dioxide treatment.

ANYONE should know that depriving the brain of oxygen kills brain cells. So,
why would one think, especially one who calls himself a doctor, that would be
beneficial to someone suffering emotional trauma of any kind to give them
carbon dioxide? Will we hear next that they will be holding patient’s heads
under water for 10 minutes to see of what benefit it might be?

Even more alarming is the fact that this man pawned himself off as one who
specializes in environmental medicine and homeopathy. You would think that
someone who is suppose to know anything about environmental medicine would be
well aware of the damage caused by carbon dioxide – one of the greatest
concerns of environmental medicine. And since when did homeopathy include
anything like treating someone with carbon dioxide? Perhaps the problem here
was that the good doc had spent too much time in the same room where he was
treating his patients with the carbon dioxide? 🙂

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()

Citizens for Responsible Care & Research
A Human Rights Organization
Tel-212-595-8974 FAX: 212-595-9086

According to The NY Post, a licensed psychiatrist, James Watt, used carbon
dioxide as a “treatment” for depression. Result: patient is brain dead in a
coma at Bellevue Hospital.

Could it be that James Watt is related to the notorious neurosurgeon, James
Watt, who teamed up with neurologist Walter Freeman, performing 40,000
lobotomies (by 1955) on American men, women, and children ??
[see excerpt, below, from the book Medical Blunders, by Robert Youngson and
Ian Schott.]

The National Institutive of Mental Health sponsors Carbon dioxide
“challenge’ experiments that are being conducted on patients–including
adolescents–who have been diagnosed with panic disorder. Is it ethical to
induce panic attacks (with carbon dioxide or other such non-therapeutic,
dangerous procedures) in order to study panic disorder? Or, do these
experiments demonstrate current “medical blunders” ?


New York Post
Friday April 27, 2001, page 8



April 27, 2001 — Authorities seized equipment from the office of a
Manhattan psychiatrist yesterday – after one of his patients wound up brain
dead following a session, cops said.

Leah Grove, 38, is in intensive care at Bellevue Hospital, where she was
taken April 19 after something went wrong during “carbon dioxide” therapy at
Dr. James Watt’s office on East 46th Street.

Watt was treating the Queens woman for depression with a combination of
gases, including carbon dioxide, cops said.

Investigators said it was unlikely charges would filed.

New York Post
Sunday April 29, 2001



April 28, 2001 — The woman left brain-dead after a psychiatric session
involving an unusual gas therapy had been looking forward to a new job in
California, her landlady said yesterday.

Leah Grove, 38, already had moved out of the Sunnyside, Queens,
apartment she had been sharing with a friend in anticipation of her move
west, said landlady Edith Giron.

Grove, a computer saleswoman, remained in a coma yesterday at Bellevue
Hospital with her grief-stricken mother at her bedside.

“Everything is about as can be expected,” said her mother, Lynn Grove,
who was so upset she could barely speak.

Grove was taken to the hospital April 19 after a mishap during
“carbon-dioxide therapy” at Dr. James Watt’s Manhattan office, police said.
She was being treated for stress and mild depression, cops said.

Watt has not been charged, but police and prosecutors searched his East
46th Street office and seized equipment Thursday.

Questions remained yesterday about the nature and purpose of the
therapy by Watt, who could not be reached for comment. Carbon dioxide can
suffocate a person.

Watt, 73, is a licensed psychiatrist whose business card says
he specializes in homeopathic care, including “environmental
detoxification, hormonal replacement, intravenous nutritional
infusions, and anti-aging therapy.”

Originally from New York, he spent time in California, and
returned to New York several years ago, police said.

In addition to carbon dioxide, police said Watt was giving a
mixture including oxygen and nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to Grove as

Carbon-dioxide therapy was used in the 1940s and 1950s to
trigger near-death experiences.


“the “Freeman-Watts standard lobotomy”; or, as they called it, the
“precision method”. After hand-drilling holes on either side of the head
which were widened by manually breaking away further bits of the skull, the
way would be paved for the knife by the preliminary insertion of a 6 inch
cannula, the tubing from a heavy-gauge hypodermic needle. Put in one hole,
this would be aimed at the other, on the opposite side of the head. Then the
blunt knife would be inserted in the path initially carved by the cannula.
Once inside the brain, the blade would be swung in two cutting arcs,
destroying the targeted nerve matter. “It goes through just like soft
butter,” said Watts. The operation was repeated on the other side of the

Because the technique was “blind” — they could not see what they were
doing — it required both men. Watts manipulated the cannula and blade while
Freeman crouched in front of the patient, like a baseball catcher, using his
knowledge of the internal map of the brain to give Watts instructions such
as “up a bit”, “down a fraction”, or “straight ahead”. Watts enjoyed “flying
on instruments only”, as he put it, and became so expert that, as a special
trick, he could insert a cannula through a 2 millimeter hole in one side of
a patient’s head and thread it through the brain and out of the opposing
hole like a shoelace. “That’s pretty damn dramatic, you know,” he once said.
“And of course it always impressed spectators.”

The best was yet to come. Having observed that the optimum results were
achieved when the lobotomy induced drowsiness and disorientation, Freeman
and Watts decided to see if they could use this information to judge how an
operation was proceeding; they began to perform lobotomies under local
anesthetic. Now they could speak to the patient while cutting the lobe
connections and gauge whether they were being successful. They asked
patients to sing a song, or to perform arithmetic, and if they could see no
signs of disorientation, they chopped away some more until they could.

Initial professional reaction to the 1936 operations was not promising.
Although, privately, the technique aroused great interest, it drew outraged
responses from psychoanalysts and many psychiatrists, though, in keeping
with the medical tradition of discretion, these reservations were not voiced
to the public at the time. Ten years later, everybody would declare that
they had always opposed the lobotomy.” …………..

“As early as 1951, even the Soviet Union, where psychiatric abuse was rife,
had stopped performing the lobotomy on ideological grounds: it produced
unresponsive people who were fixed and unchangeable.”

The preceding text was adapted from the book Medical Blunders, by Robert
Youngson and Ian Schott. All reprinted materials are copyrighted by the
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