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A Piece of My Mind
December 23 2009

The Heart of the Matter

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;302(24):2638-2639. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1808

I became an emergency physician for many reasons, including my love of immediate problem-solving and my interest in episodic patient care. But by definition, my role as an initial caregiver means that I rarely know the endings to the stories, many of them joyful, some tragic.

One patient was different. As I went on my shift in the emergency department, I found it quiet. There were a few patients left over from the night shift, and three new patients waiting to be seen. As I was preparing to review a case with a resident, I received a call from the radiologist. These early-morning calls usually meant that the radiologists had found a discrepancy with the previous night's reading.

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