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A Piece of My Mind
August 10, 2011

A Great Case

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Wellesley, Massachusetts (

JAMA. 2011;306(6):588-589. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.905

A “great case” is a classic presentation of a rare or dramatic phenomenon, with a resolution highlighting the skill of the physicians involved. I was once a great case.

It was 1970. I was a 13-year-old girl in eighth grade. I am now a middle-aged internist, but I still think about it from time to time, from the perspective of the teenager I was. My daughter has just turned 13, which prompts me to reminisce about it now.

In the middle of the frigid Midwestern winter, I was sweating profusely. I had had this problem for an eternity it seemed—at least a year, maybe two. Multiple times every day, a deluge of sweat would engulf me. In my teenaged mind, experiences separated into those that were embarrassing and those that were not. This problem was definitely embarrassing.

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