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June 8, 1984

The Companion

Author Affiliations

Springfield, III

JAMA. 1984;251(22):2926. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340460016003

To the Editor.—  The patient's companion is common in office practice. I thought the companion (someone who accompanies the patient to the office) relevant to management, so I interviewed them for six months to investigate the phenomenon.One hundred six consecutive companions were interviewed. These interviews involved an office patient volume of 1,240 visits (incidence, 8.6%). Reports from ambulatory psychiatry practice have described the companion1,2 at an incidence of up to 45%.In medical office practice, the companion is obvious as is his intent, but special illustrations are helpful.

Credibility—  The companion gives credence to a complaint. A 74-years-old woman came with her companion, her daughter. The patient had been seen four times before with a "swimming" feeling in her head. Before the visit her daughter called, stating that her mother had a roaring noise in her left ear that she, the daughter, could hear. Although I could not