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May 1960

Main’s Syndrome and a Nurse’s Reaction to It

Author Affiliations

Dunedin, C.I, New Zealand

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(5):576-581. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590110100013

It makes an unpromising start to confess, as I must, that this clinical study hinges on a patient whom I never met. In fact, I was on my sick bed when her impact was foreshadowed, and there I had to lie, in another part of the hospital, as she made her passage through the psychiatric department. And yet the diagnosis leapt into mind as soon as she was heralded, and within an hour of her actual arrival, a day later, I was sure of it, distant from the scene as I was.

The first omen was an envelope marked “strictly personal and confidential,” and a surreptitious and unsigned letter within. It was evidently from a mental hospital doctor who felt it imperative to guide me in advance of a patient meriting the utmost in personal attention. She had just left his care, was shortly to reach my city,

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