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On Being a Doctor |

Ode to Joy

Mark S. Litwin, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: Mark S. Litwin, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, UCLA, B-973 Factor Building, 10833 Le-ConteAvenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1685.

Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90024

©1992 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(4):337. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-117-4-337
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When you've gone through the four-year fire of medical school and you've walked the wards as a surgical intern, you think you're ready for anything. You think you can do anything. You learn to cut silk on the first try, tie knots with sutures fine as hair and list the causes of hypokalemic alkalosis. You can drive an IV into a veinless arm, hold a retractor, arms numb, for hours without moving. You can find any x-ray and summarize a two-month hospitalization in less than five minutes. You become case-hardened, tough.

One patient can prove you wrong. Mrs. Bingham, on






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