Hutton, Effie Lilian 1904 - 1956


(1904-1956), psychiatrist

Effie Lilian Hutton (also known as Lilian Hutton) was born in Teesdale, County Durham on 25 March 1904. She trained in medicine at the Royal Free Hospital, London in 1928, before gaining psychiatric experience at Harton Hospital, Newcastle and Rainhill Hospital, Liverpool. Between 1933 and 1939, Hutton worked at a neurosyphilis clinic at Horton Hospital, Epsom, conducting research on the use of malarial therapy.

In 1939, Hutton was offered a post at the Burden Neurological Institute, Bristol, an independent research unit specialising in the investigation and treatment of neurological, psychological, and psychiatric disorders. She rapidly rose through the ranks of the Burden and was appointed its Clinical Director just a year later. During the Second World War, Hutton’s work focused on the introduction of new physical treatments for psychiatric conditions, such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). She was also in charge of organising Britain’s first leucotomy (lobotomy), which was performed at the Burden on 19 February 1941. In July 1941, Hutton published the results of the first eight patients to be given the procedure in the Lancet.

Despite her initial enthusiasm for such treatments, further research on their negative side effects led Hutton to successfully argue for the discontinuation of psychosurgery at the Burden. Hutton’s later research instead focused on the more spiritual aspects of psychiatric care, arguing for the importance of both religion and love in the treatment of neurosis and similar conditions.

Hutton died on 8 August 1956 following a long illness.