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A Piece of My Mind
June 9, 2010


JAMA. 2010;303(22):2229-2230. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.762

In a sunlit ward of sunken bodies, the young Ugandan woman's full, round face hinted at health. As the white coats marched toward her bed, she passed her nursing infant to her mother and fastened the large button at her shoulder in one fluid motion. She had recently arrived at Mulago Hospital, the large public hospital in Kampala, Uganda, complaining of difficulty breathing, unable even to hang a load of laundry. I too had just arrived at Mulago, but from the United States, and had joined my first resident report. When the Ugandan physician paused in his English discourse on superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome to address the young woman briefly in Luganda, she smiled with her lips tight and held out her arms for inspection.

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