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On Being a Doctor |

Heartsick

Julia E. McMurray, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine; Madison, WI 53792 Requests for Reprints: Julia E. McMurray, MD, Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, 600 Highland Avenue, J5/210 CSC, Madison, WI 53792.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(4):315-316. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-128-4-199802150-00015
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“Hello, Miz Lucy,” I would say as my father led me into the patient exam room. Miz Lucy, a diminutive retired schoolteacher, would be sitting in the chair, gussied up to the nines, with gnarled hands and feet shod in heavy stockings and thick orthopedic shoes. My father, a general internist in a small southern town, would have me touch her swollen hands as he injected the gold that would help her pain. She would exclaim about my growth, my successes in school, and would mention how the good doctor had saved her life more than once. Later, she would drive by our house in her ancient green Cadillac to make sure that he was home in case she needed him or to drop off her special cookies. At Christmas time, our kitchen counter was always covered with cakes, pies, or crocheted afghans made by grateful patients like Miz Lucy.

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