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A Piece of My Mind
January 21, 2009

Part-time Medicine

JAMA. 2009;301(3):254-255. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.1025

It was 8 AM on Tuesday morning and I listened to my telephone messages in my office. “This is Sharon S.,” the first message played, “calling on Thursday. I think I’m having a urinary infection. Please call me back.”

“It's Sharon S.,” the next message played, “calling on Friday. I’m having a lot of burning when I urinate and wonder if I should be on antibiotics.”

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I quickly dialed Sharon's number and unfortunately got an answering machine. I apologized for not getting her message sooner, explaining that the clinic was closed for a federal holiday on Thursday, and that Fridays and Mondays were the days that I didn't work at the clinic. All of these were true statements, but as I recounted them before Sharon's answering machine they sounded pathetic.

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