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December 17, 1997

Whispering Through the Keyhole

Author Affiliations

Wichita, Kan

JAMA. 1997;278(23):2061. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550230037019

This is a case report, of sorts. One possibly for the record books, yet not to define a new disease or an innovative treatment. I could give you a packaged, neat synopsis of this Woman's presentation and highlight her puzzling neurological findings. But that's not what I see when I remember the event.

I see her hand.

Joan didn't have a personal physician, so when the emergency staff decided she needed admission, she was assigned to our residency service. The nurse plopped Joan's chart by my elbow as she hurried by and barked, "Room 2!" I completed the admission notes of my previous patient, finished off a Dr Pepper, and rounded the corner to meet my new patient, pulling my lab coat around me to ward off the 65-degree temperature of the hospital.

Emergency department nurses and technicians were flitting about the area where "Room 2," enclosed by mere curtains