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Opinion: Feeling strain when violent patients need care

The New York Times, January 31, 2012

I didn't know much about the patient—just that he'd showed up on my floor the previous evening after some confusion about whether his room was ready. When I went into his room that morning, he was still asleep. I gently roused him while his doctor, who had followed me in, explained that he needed to do a physical exam. The patient, suddenly fully awake, challenged him: "Are you going to examine me or are you just going to stand there and talk about it?" His voice had an edge to it that, I'll reluctantly admit, scared me, especially when he quickly got up out of the bed and started yelling at the doctor and me.