Danger to Self: On the Frontline with an ER Psychiatrist, by Paul Linde
This is an ER psychiatrist’s story from the front lines of mental illness and acute situations. This book reminded me why I got my psychology degree in the first place— It should be the next doctor soap on TV.
Linde’s book consists of ten case studies drawn from 17 years of working in the high-pressure atmosphere of the Psychiatric Emergency Service at San Francisco General Hospital.
Linde’s use of a combat metaphor isn’t accidental. The mental health pros at SF General deal with a flood of patients who are hallucinating, drunk, catatonic, aggressive, severely suicidal, high on drugs, paranoid, and physically sick. I couldn’t believe some of the stories. Their decisions need to be made as quickly as any physician’s, and making the wrong call could have consequences just as lethal as in surgery.
This is the Wild West of medical dramas—and it’s all true.