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May 6, 1988

Life Is Short, the Art Long, Opportunity Fleeting, Experience Treacherous, Judgment Difficult

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

New Orleans

JAMA. 1988;259(17):2542. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720170018012

To the Editor.  —The article about the evaluation of medical students' skills in performing physical examinations by patients who are trained to evaluate those examinations1 prompts me to say that women who have been trained to do breast self-examination cannot help but notice when their physicians' breast examining skills are deficient.These skills are often deficient, if the discussions I have had on the subject with sympathetic physicians and interested women patients are any indication. In fact, those discussions make me think that it is the rare physician who performs a breast examination as well as trained women patients do.A woman who sees that her physician cannot conduct a proper breast examination necessarily wonders about his other medical skills. Ideally, such a woman lets her physician know that she is dissatisfied with the breast examination; but, she rarely speaks up, probably out of embarrassment for the physician and