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November 22, 1995

Patient Violence and the Clinician

Author Affiliations

St. Elizabeths Hospital Commission on Mental Health Services Washington, DC

JAMA. 1995;274(20):1639-1640. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530200077049

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


I strongly encourage all psychiatrists and emergency department physicians to read this concise, timely book. However, even if my review arouses your interest, smart money says that you will pass it by.

Denial of the threat posed by some patients and a grandiose conviction that you already know how to assess and manage the violent patient will lead you to assume that you can read this review and not the book itself. In so doing, you will demonstrate the major theme that runs through this collection of 11 papers, written by members of the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force on the Violent Patient. Repeatedly, the authors emphasize how the potent combination of denial and grandiosity results in unfortunate and sometimes lethal outcomes. As stressed in the introduction, most psychiatric patients will never pose a threat to medical personnel, but some will, and to ensure that we are adequately informed and

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