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Book and Media Reviews
February 10, 2010

The Orange Wire Problem and Other Tales From the Doctor’s Office

JAMA. 2010;303(6):565-566. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.108

Truman Capote wrote of the risk-taking involved in good writing that “Writers, at least those who take genuine risks, who are willing to bite the bullet and walk the plank, have a lot in common with another breed of lonely men—the guys who make a living shooting pool and dealing cards.” When physicians write of themselves and their patients, they are necessarily revealing much about themselves as well as about those whose stories they tell. The encounters are intimate and often take place in circumstances of fear, pain, and uncertainty. Writing about them in a manner that is moving and authentic as well as respectful requires tact, sensitivity, and the willingness to reveal self.