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November 20, 1987

The Sprinkler

Author Affiliations



JAMA. 1987;258(19):2748. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400190130044

When my wife suggested I try to fix the sprinkler, I answered, "Let's call one of those sprinkler companies in the Yellow Pages," and returned to the article I was reading in the New York Times Magazine.

My wife stared at me for a moment. Then she complained, "We never fix anything ourselves. We always call the plumber or the fix-it man. It's as if you're still in the emergency room calling for surgeons and cardiologists anytime anyone has a serious problem."

I put down my article for a moment. Maybe she had a point. It's true that in emergency medicine we do an initial evaluation and then refer serious cases to specialists, but the sprinkler was serious. Our grass could die and if I messed around with the sprinkler I could break a pipe and cause a very serious problem. Someone who knew sprinklers would be able to fix