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Tag: adolescence

ICU Surprise!

It was 7:15 on a Tuesday morning. What kind of a Tuesday morning, I could not say. How would I know? There are no windows on 8 North, the adolescent ward at Bellevue Hospital, where I was spending my first month as an intern. There could have been a hurricane outside for all I knew.

What I did know was that in about fifteen minutes a pack of fresh, smiling faces would be arriving, and one

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Bella’s Not a Girl Anymore

For more than thirty years, I’ve practiced general pediatrics and adolescent medicine with a private group practice in New Rochelle, just north of New York City.

Today I saw an adolescent girl for a checkup. Before this, I had seen her for a sick visit or two, but I didn’t know her all that well. She was accompanied by her father, whom I was meeting for the first time.

I started the checkup, as I always do, by asking if they had any

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High Stakes

As a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist, I’ve been trained to treat depression and evaluate suicidal risk. Yet when it comes to working with an adolescent who expresses a wish not to exist, trying to clarify what’s actually meant feels daunting.

I’m reminded of this one Monday morning as thirteen-year-old Paula sits across from me in the interview room.

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Northern Lights

“Let me die,” you say.

You’ve listed the reasons, presented the arguments: You’re a burden, a mere speck in a world of billions, one that will not be missed. A life that never asked to be born. Why prolong this pain?

“Please, let me die,” you say again, this time with a sob that allows no more words.

I hear you, I do.

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