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On My Mind
November 2005

A Brief Lapse

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2005 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2005

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(11):1007. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.11.1007

As a psychologist in a pediatric oncology treatment center, I have days that are no more or no less crazy than those of anyone else in a teaching hospital. One day in January was no different. My last outpatient of the day was a young man who had survived acute lymphoblastic leukemia years earlier. In his continuing labor to make sense out of his life, he was now actively considering suicide. Although his struggle was not new, an increased level of anger, rage actually, scared me. Fearing that in a state of fury he might attempt to kill himself, I wrestled with the need for an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.