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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Diagnosis Martyr
By Anthony Tophoney


The following excerpts were taken from a case file kept by Dr. Harrison Gregg, Staff Psychiatrist at Banesburg Sanitarium.

Monday, Sept. 15th

I have been consulted regarding the evaluation of a new arrival, brought in under family committal. Vanda Harper, Patient #7509, shows early signs of schizophrenia but is not a text book case by any means. She suffers from auditory hallucinations, which she attributes to the voice of God, and engages in delusional fantasies, claiming to have discovered a cure for death. While these may be classic examples of schizoid behavior, the patient lacks the paranoia, hysteria and social dissociation normally exhibited by schizophrenics. Ms. Harper has, however, developed a personality disorder, as she believes she died recently and has been reborn as a different person bearing the same name and appearance. I am recommending her to the Advisory Panel for further evaluation.

Thursday, Sept. 16th

After considerable analysis, the Panel has been unable to successfully diagnose Ms. Harper as schizophrenic. Instead, they have presented a strong case for extreme, religious obsession. The patientís delusions are centered on the mythical figure of Jesus Christ as a means to salvation in the afterlife. She is, in fact, so absorbed in this fable that she has lost touch with the life she leads in the present, content to look toward the promise of legend rather than strive for a more socially viable existence. To combat this Messianic Dementia, I am recommending a suitable application of cultural influences. This unorthodox treatment will entail Ms. Harper being fed a steady diet of popular music, film and television programming, while being denied access to the anthology of ancient tales she reads obsessively. In this way, the Panel and I hope to introduce the patient to a catalogue of more practical interests and restore normality to her world view.

Thursday Sept. 23rd

Despite the Panelís best efforts, the patient continues to resist our attempts at social integration. She persistently rejects popular trends in favor of an archaic value structure, completely incompatible with acceptable modern thinking. After several failed attempts to conquer this condition through natural, therapeutic processes, my colleagues and I have decided to resort to more aggressive treatment. We are prescribing a new drug designed to inhibit the natural production of endorphins, which chemically manufacture the human spiritual consciousness. It is the opinion of the Panel that the side effect of moral degeneration sometimes associated with this drug represents a minor risk to Ms. Harperís well being, while the benefit will prove paramount to her recovery.

Wednesday, Sept. 29th

Ms. Harper has suffered a setback. She has become melancholy and is now prone to emotionally charged, verbal outbursts. The patient seems to be trying to establish interpersonal communication with her fictional deity. This is normally done in a ritualistic fashion, while kneeling, with head bowed and hands raised. She now refuses to take oral medications and is instead receiving injections as needed.

Friday, Oct. 8th

The chemical regimen has provided no barrier to the phantoms plaguing our patient. Ms. Harper claims to have maintained contact with a disembodied entity she calls the Holy Spirit throughout this ordeal. Her most recent delusion involves this imaginary being actually dwelling within her. This patientís condition may be more serious than we had originally surmised. The Panel has suggested consulting a prominent clergyman from a local college to gain a theological perspective on Ms. Harperís illness. Maybe he can shed some light on this peculiar case of parochial oppression.

Tuesday, Oct. 12th

I am sad to report that Reverend Mason has confirmed our darkest fears regarding Ms. Harper. It is the professorís considered opinion that the patient suffers from a severe form of Christianity known as Fundamental Extremism. To further complicate matters, Nurse Tyson, Ms. Harperís personal care assistant, has come forward claiming to have accepted Jesus as her personal savior. While it is common for patients to mimic the psychoses of their fellow inmates, it is unacceptable for staff to become involved on such a personal level. To guard against the further spread of this hysteria, Patient #7509 is being transferred to a private room on the Long Term Care ward, where she will be re-evaluated by the Panel biannually. This record will be filed accordingly.

Dr. Harrison Gregg PDOC

*This was the last known mention of Vanda Harper until her obituary appeared in the Banesburg Gazzette one year later. The Sanitarium was listed as her residence and the cause of death; natural.

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This article has been read 1374 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry11/10/06
Oh, this is good! Unfortunately, it's also a sad commentary on our society. I like the format. You hooked me right away. Nicely done.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/12/06
Very clever. May we all be as "deluded" as Ms. Harper.
Sally Hanan11/16/06
Very sad but very well written. Congrats on your win.
Jan Ross11/16/06
Congratulations on your win! Wow! What a sobering article, indeed. Such a dark commentary on today's society although, unfortunately, I can testify that this is not too far-fetched. Great writing--no wonder it placed! Congratulations once again! :)
Val Clark11/16/06
Really 'enjoyed' reading this provoking story. Great format. consistent voice. You made me care for the MC. Well done and congratulations.
Daniel Owino Ogweno11/17/06
I read this with a lot of interest. You accurately captured the voluntary ignorance of some doctors. Congratulations for the win.