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February 2, 1970

Psychiatric Blackguardry

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1970;211(5):831. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170050065025

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To the Editor.—  I would like to comment on your editorial "Psychiatric Blackguardry," (210:717, 1969). My former chief, the late C. MacFie Campbell, director of Boston Psychopathic Hospital and professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, said that during his many years of psychiatric experience the patients who were admitted always belonged there except for the following case:Early one morning in Boston, an elderly Negro, merely in high spirits, walked by taking three steps forward and then whirling about three times, and he kept repeating this procedure. He was brought to Boston Psychopathic Hospital by police acting as amateur psychiatrists, and he was released promptly.In psychiatric practice over the past 35 years, I admitted one patient unjustifiedly. This teenaged girl was probated by her mother because of supposedly rebellious and incorrigible behavior. History from relatives, however, indicated that the mother had extreme hostility toward the daughter, who told her Naval