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Poetry and Medicine
July 28, 1999

Mr. Biggers

Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(4):308. doi:10.1001/jama.282.4.308

I have a friend, Jeannie Applebaum, who says that
names tell us a lot about the person much the same way
that dog owners often bear a resemblance to their dogs.
While I've given little credence heretofore to this homespun
philosophy (Jeannie isn't exactly Kant or Déscartes), lately
I see its wisdom. Dr. Plummer is a urologist on staff.
(I have this ineffable desire to correct his spelling.) Then too,
there is Mrs. Muffin, a nurse's aide who gives out breakfast.
Nurse Nancy Smith behaves quite anonymously, and
Joan Desirée, RN, is the local heartthrob with whom
Dr. Robert Radcliffe is cheating on his wife These are things
you come to know. Secrets waft out through porous walls.
I am in the midst of an oceanic all-day soap opera, I say to
Mr. Biggers, who nods and mops vigorously under my bed.