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A Piece of My Mind
September 16, 1998

An Independent Scientist

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;280(11):950. doi:10.1001/jama.280.11.950

One Friday afternoon in late April of last year, so tired I could hardly reach the telephone, I received a call from an editor of a Major Medical Journal. After the briefest of introductions, the editor explained that she wanted my long-time research partner, Melinda, and me to write an editorial to accompany a special article. Still perceiving myself to be a novice in academia, I was flabbergasted and struggled to maintain my poise. She explained a few details, then said something to the effect of, "Here's the bad news: we need the final version on May 12." Eighteen days. I experienced an anginal-like sensation, felt the opportunity start to slip away, paused, then tightened my grip. I blurted, "There is something I feel obligated to tell you. I am pregnant and my due date is in eight days, but I don't think it will be a problem." The silence that followed was painful; then she said in measured cadence, "Well, that's what coauthors are for."

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