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about the drugs.

To our surprise, Peter lifted his head and started to recite a list of chemical names and quantities. With clinical detachment, he explained the effect of each drug and the interactions that resulted from the "cocktail" which he had mixed.

The young doctor was worried -- he confessed to us that he was not sure whether Peter's knowledge of the drugs was correct. He thought it was quite likely that a lethal dose had been taken, but there was still time to take appropriate steps to overcome the effect of the drugs. He would have to go get some advice.

He turned back to Peter:

"Why did you take the pills?", he asked.

"Because I wanted to kill myself," said Peter.

The intern got on the phone to the Poisons Information Centre, asking for advice on the drugs which Peter had mentioned.

Eventually, the patient was taken away for intensive treatment. We were told to go home; that the hospial would call if there was any crisis.

The next morning, Peter was sitting up in bed, giving the nurses a hard time. He was obviously in no immediate danger. I spoke to the Resident Psychiatrist who had just examined him.

"Why did he do it?" I asked.

"Because he wanted to kill himself."

"Yes. But why did he want to kill himself?"

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