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A Piece of My Mind
November 4, 2009


Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2009;302(17):1845. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1537

Pulling the curtains aside, I was taken aback: You don't typically see a 21-year-old girl with a malignant brain tumor. It was 2 AM, and I had spent most of the day and night alternating between emergency department and operating room, seeing patients, operating on them, by this point mechanically, just a shade short of being oblivious to their pathology. This was irrelevant to her; it had now been 10 hours since she had arrived in the emergency department. She had come to the hospital because her right hand was clumsy and her friends had noticed her face drooping—she hadn't noticed anything herself. Taking her medications out of her schoolbag, I noticed a communications textbook. She was a student, possibly on her way to a being a teacher. She had come alone; she didn't want her parents to be worried.

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