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Following by example

Vol. 9, No. 10 / October 2010

Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah’s “Treat the patient, not the disease,” (From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, August 2010, p. 13-14) has given me more joy and hope than you can realize. I thought I was alone. I am chair of psychiatry at an academic inner city community teaching hospital, running a dual diagnosis unit as well. I preface each new student rotation by saying, “Medicine is an art as well as a science. You will learn here how to help patients. Do not answer test questions based on my use of psychotropics.” Of course, as we move along I offer both sides (or more) to all treatment possibilities, but I use more than the average number of off-label treatments.

I am passing on your words to the students, staff, medical executive committee, therapeutic committee, and anyone who will listen.

William J. Annitto, MD, MPH
Chairman, department of psychiatry
Medical director behavioral health
Saint Barnabas Health Care Systems
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark, NJ

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