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On Being a Doctor |

A Tale of Two Patients

Faith T. Fitzgerald, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817.


Requests for Single Reprints: Faith T. Fitzgerald, MD, University of California, Davis, 4150 V Street, Suite 1100, Sacramento, CA 95817.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(11):929-930. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-140-11-200406010-00017
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Late last year, my 87-year-old mother developed diarrhea. I phoned her doctor's clinic and was answered by a recorded voice that periodically told me, “All of our representatives are busy helping other clients. We appreciate your patience. Your call is important to us. Please hold for our next available representative.” Synthetic music alternated with synthetic messages for 28 minutes before I lost my appreciated patience and hung up. I phoned again later; after a 15-minute hold, in the midst of “Your call is important …,” I was disconnected. I got through on the third try: The first possible appointment was in 2 weeks. I took it. I would cancel my own workday afternoon to take my mother to see her doctor.

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Men and Dogs
Posted on September 16, 2004
Ashish Goel
AIIMS, New Delhi 110058
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

We treat our dogs better than our fellow men. This is very true. Especially in my country, it is sad to note the plight of human misery. With the population soaring, the cost of human life has been left far behind its worth. You can get a manservant for less than what you pay for a bird. Some of the hospitals are worse than our veterinary clinics. In fact while reading the article I had a feeling I was reading about some hospital in my own country only to be surprised that the west was no different.

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