When Harborside Hospital in St. Petersburg Fla was slowly changing streams they opened a psych unit on one floor. On occasion I would be asked to see a patient with a possible surgical problem. I did not go to that unit on any regular basis and that everybody smoked there was a real turnoff. They even used cigarettes to gain patient control on occasion. There was a Code (grey or some other color) that they would call on occasion to get enough man power to control a patient and they did have one room padded for violent people. Generally I stayed away from that floor.
So, one day, I was asked to see a patient on that floor. I arrived and went to the nursing desk and from there was guided by several nurses to the patients room. Most of the rooms were for 2 people, but this one was a single. The patient was a black woman in mid 30s. I sat down and started a conversation regarding the reason for which I was invited to consult. The lady was very quiet and acted withdrawn and timid, but not especially abnormal. In the midst of that, I casually asked, so what problem brought you to this ward. ALL the nurses…who had stayed in the room with me (a bit unusual)..did a quick aspiration of air…loudly as in shock. One of the nurses grabbed me and hastily took me outside the room. She asked, “you don’t know why she’s here?”. I said no…and then they told me she had bitten the ear off her baby because a voice told her to do it. I guess I don’t recognize crazy as well as I thought. I don’t remember any more of the interview.