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A Piece of My Mind
May 23/30, 2012

Considering Life Before Lifestyle

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Urology, Kidney Transplant Program, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (jblumberg@mednet.ucla.edu).

JAMA. 2012;307(20):2159-2160. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.4522

My dad has happily practiced general pediatrics for the past 35 years, but according to my grandmother this was not his intended career path—he was supposed to become a surgeon. Nana, as we called her, told me that my father failed the “steady-hands test” when he began medical school in 1970, and so he could not pursue a surgical specialty. She explained it vividly, and it really must have been terrifying: you had to place your hands in front of your body, fingers stretched taut, in front of a panel of robed, white-haired, pipe-smoking, surgical professors—one quiver, you're finished.