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The Effect of Pediatric Psychologic Consultations on the Management of Adolescent Suicide Attempts in the Pediatric Service of a General Hospital

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(8):898-900. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160200020009.
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Sir.—Children and adolescents who attempt suicide have a significantly elevated risk of later death due to suicide.1,2 Because children and adolescents are poor judges of the lethality of their behavior, the medical seriousness of the attempt is not a useful criterion for distinguishing between those patients who need inpatient psychiatric treatment and those who can safely be treated as outpatients. Therefore, current recommendations indicate that all children and adolescents who attempt suicide should be admitted to a pediatric/adolescent inpatient service for medical care and evaluation.3,4 In large medical centers, professionals qualified to assess such patients are readily available; however, this is often not true in smaller hospitals.

One solution to the problem of availability of psychologic consultation for pediatric patients has been for hospitals to contract for the services of a pediatric psychologist on a part-time basis. The present retrospective study was undertaken using records from a


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