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On Being a Doctor |

Of Ears and E-mails

John H. Stone, MD, MPH
[+] Article and Author Information

From Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224.


Current Author Address: John H. Stone, MD, MPH, The Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore, MD 21224; e-mail, jstone@jhmi.edu.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(3):241-242. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-3-200408030-00020
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The news came via e-mail: “Well, the day has come. Last week, while visiting my friend Andie in Cincinnati, my right ear started to change and slowly my hearing aid has become useless. I am now profoundly deaf. … I'm O.K. with that—as much as one can be; I've had 4 years to prepare.” With that Internet message to me and my otolaryngology colleague, Dr. Francis, Stacey informed us that our efforts to preserve her hearing had failed. During the time I had been her doctor, I had admired much in Stacey. Feeling utterly powerless in the wake of her e-mail, I realized then that my admiration for her had only begun. Once again, a patient was teaching me a lesson in strength.

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Light of Hope
Posted on September 16, 2004
Ashish Goel
AIIMS, New Delhi 110058
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

This is in response to the article by Dr Stone "“ Of ears and emails. It is so right that emails have revolutionalized the system, and our lives. It has opened a new world of hope for people like Stacey. Even for the blind with the speech software, the world has become a different place. Another view expressed by Dr Stone, is that we are able to identify better to patients of our own age group. This is also very true. We realize that these are patients who have seen the world with our own eyes and have seen and lived in the same hopes and fears. It becomes difficult to identify especially with the younger generations, who are not supposed to suffer. They are meant to receive a better future from us. Though emails lack the immediacy of picking up the phone and talking to a friend, they certainly give the advantage to stay away yet stay connected, to people who love their solace and are at peace with their inner self.

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

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