Vital Signs

What do you do when a live patient declares that he is, in fact, dead?

By Pamela Grim|Sunday, July 25, 2004
RELATED TAGS: MENTAL HEALTH
I had to read the nurse’s note twice. “Patient complains he is dead,” it said. I looked over at room 4B, the emergency room’s psychiatry unit, where an elderly man in a terry-cloth robe was sitting, head down, shoulders hunched. He looked depressed and toothpick thin but clearly alive.I walked into the room, flipping through his medical records. The patient was an 82-year-old widower who resided in a South Carolina assisted-living facility nearby. He had a history of hype...
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