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November 19, 1982

Treatment of Colleagues

Author Affiliations

Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC

JAMA. 1982;248(19):2448. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330190018007

To the Editor.—  It has been noted that the greatest tragedies in medicine occur when routine is broken. Unfortunately, this situation is prevalent when care is directed to our colleagues. Even when an effort is made not to "do anything special," this may conversely cause undue conservatism or hesitation at times of therapeutic urgency. Judgment is confounded by our own recognition of possible emotional involvement, making decision more difficult and action seem more perilous. I am sure most of us can relate to these stresses, but we also lack a prepared psychological praxis for these special circumstances.A common way to proceed when a fellow physician, important person, or hospital staff member requires treatment is to boost the patient to the "professor's service." This maneuver often compounds the issues already mentioned, while abdicating our responsibility and also therapeutic contribution.I do not have my own answer to this problem, but