Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sins of the Mind

I saw this movie on TV when it was released, in 1997. One of those utterly forgettable made-for-television-films. However, two years ago there was a case which brought this movie back to mind. A young woman, with a large aneurysm, very difficult to treat. The aneurysm had ruptured twice, and it seemed likely it was going to bleed again. Every time a brain aneurysm bleeds, there is a 50% chance of instant death. So something had to be done. She underwent three operations, the aneurysm was approached from both sides, and finally it was successfully clipped. Unfortunately, the procedure resulted in damage to both of her temporal lobes.

As a result, the young lady started behaving oddly during rounds. She started exhibiting uninhibited sexual behavior, speaking in a suggestive and seductive manner, as well as touching and grabbing male doctors. I started dreading the morning rounds because it was always an awkard situation. How to respond? Getting angry or reprimanding her was useless, because she did not consciously think she was doing anything wrong. Nonchalance was the only way to deal with it, and that seemed to work reasonably well.

She was suffering from Kluver-Bucy syndrome, a condition caused by bilateral (both sides) temporal lobe injury. She was eventually discharged from our unit and transferred to another hospital for rehabilitation, but to this day I don't know how she recovered. It would be interesting to know whether she was finally discharged and returned to normal life, and whether the hypersexuality persisted, and how she manages with it. Now that I think about it, I'll try to find out, and if I do, I'll let you know.



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