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July 8, 1974

Suicide by Physicians

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1974;229(2):141. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230400017017

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To the Editor.—  I would like to make some comments about the article, "Suicide in Male and Female Physicians," by Steppacher and Mausner (228:323, 1974). I think the authors drew unwarranted conclusions from their data after an elaborate discussion of possible and likely distortions with regard to its collection. It was of interest that P values were not uniformly reported. Indeed, the authors showed that the incidence of suicide among male and female physicians was not statistically different, yet developed considerable narrative based on the opposite premise. If it is "tragic that suicide should occur among people interacting daily with colleagues and supervisors," is it not equally tragic for men as well as women? What are the implications vis-à-vis selection among male applicants to medical school? How can we protect patients against the increased risk of their middle-aged male physician taking his life?The authors contended that there was a