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A Piece of My Mind
October 8, 2014

Healthy But Harmed

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2014;312(14):1399-1400. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7219

“Hola. Me llamo Dr Dowdy. Hablo solo un poquito de español, pero tenemos intérpretes por teléfono”: The one line in Spanish I know by heart. Though the interpreters would take a minute to access, I already knew the story of Mr Sanchez. I had been speaking for the last 15 minutes with Sara, the intern who had seen him, an otherwise healthy 30-year-old man with a two-week history of fevers, drenching night sweats, and body aches, now with a nagging cough. After speaking with Mr Sanchez and appreciating both his tachycardia and the crackles in his left lower lobe, I thought to myself that Sara’s assessment had been accurate: Mr Sanchez was one of the few patients in our urgent care clinic whose respiratory symptoms likely did call for antibiotics.

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