Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Daniel Robert Morena (March 11, 1982-December 9, 2005)

Last Friday afternoon, Daniel Robert Morena, a young male patient, in the Clinical Center of the NIH climbed a eight-foot barrier on the seventh floor and fell into the atrium. He was pronouced dead shortly after arriving at nearby Suburban Hospital. Daniel was a mental health patient suffering from schizophrenia, and he was the first suicide since the NIH started treated mental health about 50 years ago. Today, a memorial service was held in the Lipsett Amphitheater to reflect on the tragic event and to stress importance of our work as scientists and clinicians. It is also important to reflect the seriousness of mental health as a disease.

Daniel had studied about world religions and shown interest in Buddhism. On the memorial service program was a writing by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a Buddhist monk:

Buddha taught that all life is impermanent and that those who are born must eventually pass from this life. However, everyone has within them the seeds or their past virtues, which has the power to bring a fortunate rebirth in the future.

We pray that through the power of this virtue, through the blessings of the holy beings, and through the force of our heartfelt prayers, our dear freiend, Daniel Morena, will experience great good fortune and everlasting peace and happiness.

We also pray for the bereaved relatives and friends, that they may be comforted in their loss and find peace of mind and strength of heart.

May all beings without exception be released from suffering, and find true happiness and everlasting peace.

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