The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain—And Almost Lost His Mind

Daniel Engber in WIRED:

THE BRAIN SURGERY lasted 11 and a half hours, beginning on the afternoon of June 21, 2014, and stretching into the Caribbean predawn of the next day. In the afternoon, after the anesthesia had worn off, the neurosurgeon came in, removed his wire-frame glasses, and held them up for his bandaged patient to examine. “What are these called?” he asked.

Phil Kennedy stared at the glasses for a moment. Then his gaze drifted up to the ceiling and over to the television. “Uh … uh … ai … aiee,” he stammered after a while, “… aiee … aiee … aiee.”

“It’s OK, take your time,” said the surgeon, Joel Cervantes, doing his best to appear calm. Again Kennedy attempted to respond. It looked as if he was trying to force his brain to work, like someone with a sore throat who bears down to swallow.

Meanwhile, the surgeon’s mind kept circling back to the same uneasy thought: “I shouldn’t have done this.”

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