Edited by Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.
When we are ill the fastest automobile seems to move like a snail in
bringing the doctor to us. We are apt to exclaim that we "would give almost
anything" for the doctor to come quickly. His coming is a most welcome presence,
as he alleviates our own pain, or the ills of those we love; we speak of him
in unmeasured tones of gratitude. There seems no man for whom we would do
quite so much as we would for him; no one who so thoroughly has our gratitude
in his keeping. This is when we are ill, or in the first days of recovery.
But some weeks or months after we are well, and when we have almost forgotten
how close we were to death's door, and how skillfully the doctor snatched
us out of the very jaws of death, the doctor's bill comes along. And somehow
our ardor has cooled; we have forgotten the gratitude which swelled within
us—and we let the doctor wait.
The Fee of the Doctor.. JAMA. 1999;282(22):2102E. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2102