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JAMA falls foul of fabricated suicide story

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7311.472/a (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:472
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    An essay published in JAMA's Piece of my Mind section, has stirred controversy after it was revealed that the events depicted in it were fictional.

    The essay was written by a medical student, Shetal Shah, and appeared last October (JAMA 2000;284:1897-8). In his essay, Mr Shah described an encounter with a 97 year old Inuit man, a toothless elderly member of the Siberian Yupik tribe, who, feeling useless, came to say goodbye to the young medical student before committing suicide by walking off into a frozen tundra in the morning fog.

    In a letter to JAMA, Dr Michael Swenson, a physician with Norton …

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