• Six male patients in a maximum-security hospital committed acts of urethral self-mutilation by insertion of a foreign body. The characteristics of the self-mutilators and of this unusual form of self-mutilation are described. The social contagion aspects of the self-mutilation are strongly suggested by the perpetration of urethral insertion for the first time by five patients after direct personal contact with a previous urethral self-mutilator. Techniques used in the management of these patients are described. Self-mutilation evokes strong emotional responses in staff members, and proper patient management also must include attention to the needs and concerns of treatment staff.
Rada RT, James W. Urethral Insertion of Foreign BodiesA Report of Contagious Self-mutilation in a Maximum-Security Hospital. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(4):423-429. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290040033005