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I hope I don't ever have to use what I've learned from Danger to Self by Paul R. Linde, M.D. and I hope you don't either.
This is a really interesting book, despite the subject matter. The second part of the title is On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist.
Nonstop Excitement and Context as Well
The author pulls together an incredible amount of history regarding psychiatry and society's approach to the mentally ill. He certainly puts into perspective a lot of the causes of society's homelessness problem and the many hats that an ER psychiatrist is expected to wear.
Life from San Francisco General
Each chapter discusses different aspects of the job of an ER psychiatrist. In the "Rookie" he explains his early days as a doctor. He shares advice that he gained from doctors who served as his mentor. Other chapters cover roles such as "Jailer" and "Judge".
In the epilogue of this book, he talks about putting his best heart forward rather than his best face forward and he quotes William Carlos Williams, who was also a physician.
Even the Notes Are Worthwhile
The notes to the book are also fascinating. He explains what books he read in putting his book together, many of which will help in understanding the state of medicine today. Especially heartening is Linde's explanation of deinstitutionalization of mental patients. It wasn't done with the idea that the mentally ill don't need care, though if you hang around the Tenderloin in San Francisco, you might be left with that idea.
I can only hope that if I ever need psychiatric care, it will come from someone as caring as this author.
Mary Wilmes, Library Assistant at Half Moon Library, has lived in Half Moon Bay since 2000, raising a child, chickens, and home-made bread. She enjoys finding unusual books as well as knitting, learning Spanish, and playing guitar and piano when she is not reading non-fiction (history, science, medicine, autobiography, and fashion) and fiction.