Carol Hutner Winograd, MD
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Winograd CH. When Doctors Get Sick. Ann Intern Med. 1998;129:509-510. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-129-6-199809150-00024
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(6):509-510.
TO THE EDITOR:
With considerable personal expertise, I read Spiro and Mandell's “When Doctors Get Sick” . I have pandysautonomia and widespread rheumatologic abnormalities, have had four extended hospitalizations, and have been on total disability more than 3 years.
Being seriously ill has certainly not been, as the authors stated, “a foretaste of retirement” or “the leisure for reveries.” Being ill demands reevaluating priorities, a task that requires challenging introspection, and is a far cry from the ease and pleasure implied by the authors' choice of words. Illness leads to a descent into darkness and the unknown. The physician–patient, stripped of role and clothing, becomes a vulnerable human being. Many of us hold on desperately to our “knowing role”-reading radiographs, as the authors point out. But when illness becomes serious enough, we physicians are forced to become real patients. Illness saps clarity from cognitive processes. We need the peace of mind that comes from having physicians whom we trust both medically and emotionally make decisions in our behalf. Our physicians can help us give up control by empathizing and trying to help us feel more cared for.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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