It was James Boswell (pictured) in his Life of Johnson who brought the phrase Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat – “those whom God wishes to destroy he first drives mad” – into common parlance, not realising or acknowledging its ancient Greek origins. Now it seems as though there’s some clinical evidence to support the assertion.
In the journal European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care, a study has been published looking at Italian hospital patients aged 65 years and older. 726 patients were studied, all of them needing intensive care for cardiac problems. 52% of them aged 85 years or more were delirious.
Those with delirium had a poor outlook: they were five times more likely to die within a month.
Picture source: Joshua Reynolds