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A Piece of My Mind
June 11, 2014

Whose Story Is It, Anyway?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2014;311(22):2273-2274. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.4518

When I was 18 years old I went camping in the snow and, through a combination of bad decisions and worse luck, contracted hypothermia. After a long midnight hike of which I have no memory, and a few days of resting under piles of blankets, I recovered with no ill effects. It’s not much of a story, really, the way I tell it, and it doesn’t come up often.

I am a newly graduated dentist and an aspiring public health practitioner. At a recent conference for student-run free clinics, I was surprised to run into an adored college friend. A fellow outing club member, he too had been on that ill-fated trip. Now, seven years hence, we smiled at each other in the Tennessee sunshine and compared stories from our respective clinics, the stress and joy of being an almost-doctor.