April 9, 1982

A Visit to a Renovated Clinic

JAMA. 1982;247(14):1906. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320390004001

She came out of the taxi, cold, feeble, wobbly on her feet, afraid. They had just renovated the outpatient pavilion and she felt lost. Coming through the front doors she met a circular wall; puzzled, she turned to the right, where the three information windows stared at her, empty. The corridor, however, shocked her sense of propriety. Young men and women, some with their feet on the chairs, some perched on the window sills, were eating hot dogs. Wheelchair-bound patients lined the wall, and everybody seemed engrossed in their little world, eating, smoking, talking in loud voices. She proceeded along the corridor until she met two security guards, hands on their guns; she passed them without a second glance.

Through blurry eyes, she could see the shadows of hundreds of chairs facing the pharmacy windows. Not a vacant seat! She heard numbers being called. The loud voices seemed to exacerbate