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On Being a Doctor |


Clifton R. Cleaveland, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: Clifton R. Cleaveland, MD, Associates in Internal Medicine, 960 East Third Street, Suite 208, P.O. Box 24088, Chattanooga, TN 37422.

Chattanooga, TN 37422

© 1991 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1991;115(7):570-571. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-115-7-570
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The week had been tiring and discouraging—more long-term patients than usual had come to my office with illnesses for which I could do little but empathize and palliate. Aged men and women with fading intellects, emphysemic men slowly fading on continuous oxygen, a young woman with rapidly progressive motor neuron disease—I felt progressively stymied and ineffectual, longing for some more acute situation in which I could work toward a cure.

I sought respite at a weekend showing of the new movie version of Hamlet. The reviews had been enthusiastic, and I was prepared for a cinematic treat. Thirty minutes passed,






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