Intended for healthcare professionals

Fillers A memorable patient

The screaming man

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 21 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:489
  1. Sean A Spence, locum consultant psychiatrist
  1. London

    I had to meet two social workers and a GP on a housing estate in London. When I got there the patient was out but two of his neighbours told us that he'd gone for a walk. So we waited to see if he'd return. While we did so, it was difficult to ignore the screaming that emanated from higher up in the flats, on the third or fourth floor. The sound was guttural, like an animal: a growling, bellowing roar.

    I kept thinking that the screaming might be coming from our man, but the neighbours said not. It had been going on for three or four days and nights, continuously. They'd been going to call the police, but no one had. While …

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