Yet what Heath had, ultimately, was a procedure in search of a purpose. If he felt himself falling asleep, he would push the button — or his friends would give him a jolt to wake him up. The others were two patients with terminal cancer and one with acute TB: Heath wanted to see whether septal stimulation would offer relief from their incurable pain. He was always interested in results that were spectacular — like finding some protein in the brain that would evoke schizophrenia. In every profile, every interview, the topic of his presence came up: he was Gary Cooper or Cary Grant or Gregory Peck in a crisp white lab coat. And what about the young man, B?
Giovanna. Age: 28.
And did it really, you know, work?
Avalynn. Age: 20.
The ‘gay cure’ experiments that were written out of scientific history
In the paper he wrote with Charles E Moan, Heath claimed that B — who he identified in contemporary interviews as a male prostitute — had subsequently had a ten-month relationship with a married woman. The woman, 21, was a prostitute from the French Quarter of New Orleans, hired by special permission of the attorney general of Louisiana. He could treat a patient, diagnose a mental illness, read an EEG and dash off a paper, all before heading off to the country club for a round of golf.