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A Piece of My Mind
April 15, 1998

Remembering Jinx

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(15):1168. doi:10.1001/jama.279.15.1168

The family's concern masked the beauty of that spring morning in the late 1940s. The boy had been ill about five days with a fever, chills, coryza, and myalgias. His temperature had reached 104° the previous night when his father had noticed the red, bumpy rash. The boy felt terrible. He was lethargic, unable to concentrate, lie still, or sleep. His appetite was off and his thirst prodigious, despite the large volumes of water, juice, and milk he consumed.

The boy's mother removed the thermometer from his mouth and, holding it at arm's length by the light of his bedroom window, she noted the temperature was 103.5°. "Still got the fever, Charlie," she reported. "Mind if we call Jinx?" The boy shrugged passively. She returned to the bed, hugged him close, kissed his forehead, and went to confer with her husband. The telephone call to John K., MD, or Jinx as his patients knew him, was made shortly afterward. He would drop by in the afternoon. The boy spent the rest of the morning dozing between doses of aspirin and glasses of juice.

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