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July 1978

The Role of Medicine in Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Medical Director Institute on Aging Ambler, PA 19002 and Northwest Center Philadelphia, PA 19119

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(7):904-905. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770310110011

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To the Editor.—I am writing in response to a recently published article in the ARCHIVES by McIntyre and Romano (34:1147-1151, 1977) that underscores the importance of considering a screening physical examination on all patients prior to the institution of psychiatric treatment, whether it is in the form of psychotherapy or chemotherapy. I would like to inform you of the experience we have had using this approach.

The Northwest Center, Philadelphia, is one of the few community mental health centers that requires a complete and comprehensive medical evaluation prior to the commencement of psychiatric treatment. Since April 1974, the center has made it mandatory that all new clients have a thorough medical evaluation; this includes a physical examination, complete blood cell count, serology, 24 factor automated blood chemistry analysis, urinalysis, chest roentgenogram, etc.

The choice of physician is made by the patient who may choose his/her own or use the

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