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February 3, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(5):303. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460050049018

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Dr. Walter Channing, in a letter to the Boston Herald, makes the suggestion that there should be a compulsory notification of all cases of suspected or developed mental diseases. His letter is instigated by a recent case of murder and suicide by a well known professional baseball player, whose peculiarities had been noticed for some time by his associates, though no attempt had been made to guard against the event that was at least partially foreseen. There is much force in Dr. Channing's suggestion; a persecutory delusional paranoiac is a standing danger and many tragedies are the direct result of such patients being at large and unwatched. As the Doctor says, there is no necessary disgrace in being insane; it does not imply any essential moral defect, but it is a misfortune that should not be permitted to extend itself to others by the irresponsible acts of the victim. The

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