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On Being a Doctor |

House Call

Audrey Young, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98104.

Current Author Address: Audrey Young, MD, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Avenue, Box 359780, Seattle, WA 98104; e-mail, auyoung@u.washington.edu.

Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(3):222-223. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-142-3-200502010-00017
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An 82-year-old retired nurse named Helen couldn't walk this morning. Her leg buckled when she stood and wouldn't snap back in like before. She shuffled from chair to exam table on the good leg and howled when I leaned on her shin. I could feel tibia scraping femur. I was a recent-mint city hospitalist filling in for a vacationing general internist in remote Montana, and to me Helen's story meant a knee brace, ibuprofen, and a next-day appointment with the local orthopedist. The twist was that Helen lived alone in a third-floor apartment. I pictured a dismal little room with a mothy smell, sparse furnishings, and shag carpet that would trip her up.





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