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My Dear Colleague: Are You Considering Suicide?

Douglas A. Sargent, MD, JD
JAMA. 1986;255(19):2599. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190083011.
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To the Editor.—  Dr Victoroff's1 moving appeal to a suicidal physician is timely and deeply appreciated. In December, the Council on Scientific Affairs accepted the preliminary report of the American Medical Association/American Pyschiatric Association Physician Mortality Project, which will go to the House of Delegates in June. Many points raised by Dr Victoroff reflect our initial sketch of the suicide-prone physician developed from our pilot study of physician suicide.2 Except for the error about the rate of reported physician suicides (which is actually 30/100,000, exactly the same as that for persons of similar age and socioeconomic circumstances), Dr Victoroff's figures, too, ring true. It is a heartfelt appeal and was well worth reading.However, I have a few quibbles. Dr Victoroff's appeal is to reason, and suicide is almost always an emotional, irrational act. The family, friends, and colleagues of the potential victim, who notice the aberrations Dr


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