September 12, 1986

Ex Machina

Author Affiliations

Des Moines

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1352. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100126037

It was cool and foggy that historical morning. The mood was somber but determined. The participants were a bit edgy, possibly not realizing the full impact their actions were to have on medical history. One could have seen the scenario evolving for years, but the big explosion happened just months before, when a strange emergency occurred.

"Doctor, come quickly. We have a major problem in the x-ray department."

"What's wrong?"

"No time to talk. Come stat!"

Gee, I wonder what's going on. I bolted out of my office and down the hall as quickly as my arthritic knee would carry me. As I approached x-ray, overwhelming foreboding came over me.

"Hold it right there, Doc," a computerlike voice scratched as I flew in through the door. "Come any closer and she's history."

Orwell's world flashed in my mind as I stood frozen, facing the CT scanner. It was talking to