February 3, 1984

Casebook of Psychiatric Emergencies: The 'On Call' Dilemma

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois School of Medicine Community Mental Health Council Inc Jackson Park Hospital Chicago


by Robert G. Cumming, 144 pp, paper, $16.95, Baltimore, University Park Press, 1983.

JAMA. 1984;251(5):659. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340290069026

No physician should work in an emergency setting until he has read this book. It contains more than 60 brief emergency room case histories that cover the full range of psychiatric problems that any emergency room physician will likely ever face. The cases are realistically presented and stimulate the formulation of theories, attitudes, and practices necessary for an average emergency room physician to treat psychiatric cases in a practical and efficient manner.

The introductory chapter firmly grounds the reader in down-to-earth knowledge and skills essential for handling psychiatric emergencies. The next chapter discusses the "social buffer" function of emergency psychiatric services and gives instructive clinical cases on confidentiality, homeless patients, refill requests for prescriptions, derelicts, follow-up outpatient treatment reinforcement, physical abuse, problems with emergency services sabotaging consistent outpatient care, and patients who feign psychiatric illness.

Chapter 3 presents issues of suicide as they relate to adolescence, telephone calls, attempts, support