The Court of Protection has ruled that a third party should take over responsibility for the financial affairs of a woman who previously had a frontal lobotomy to treat schizophrenia.
The elderly individual, who has not been named, underwent the procedure in the early 1960s following a lunacy inquisition.
She had started to exhibit symptoms of the mental illness when she was still just a teenager, reporting hallucinations at the age of 17.
She was originally given “electro-convulsive therapy” before being referred to have the surgery, which involves cutting nerve fibres to the brain.
Judge Denzil Lush acknowledged the case was unusual these days, with the operation that the women underwent having fallen out of favour many decades ago, following concerns about its effectiveness and the arrival of a new range of psychiatric drugs.
“I suspect [she] is the only person still alive who was the subject of a lunacy inquisition and for whom a committee of both the person and estate was appointed,” he said.
Judge Lush said that the woman had been the centre of several court proceedings as the laws relating to those deemed to lack mental capacity have changed over the decades.
Most recently, the woman’s sister had been made a “deputy for property and affairs” following the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. By that time the parents and other close relatives had passed away.
Now however, with the woman’s sibling in her 80s, the Judge ruled that a lawyer should assume responsibility for her finances.