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On Being a Doctor |

Heal Thyself

David L. Freeman
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©1991 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(8):694. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-114-8-694
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For the physician, the greatest lessons may be found in personal illness. The fear of a steady chest pain, the disability of musculoskeletal injury, even the discomfort of a short-lived infection all may bring to the doctor new insights into the illnesses of his or her patients. But what of major depression? Can anything more than tragic impairment result from that experience?

Two days after a routine hysterectomy, my beloved wife developed fever, abdominal pain, shock, obtundation, and cardiac arrest. Resuscitated, she endured five major abdominal procedures and, over 6 long weeks, remained barely alive with ventilator therapy, dialysis, pressor






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