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A Piece of My Mind
August 11, 2004

For the Obscure Researcher

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(6):665. doi:10.1001/jama.292.6.665

November 2, 1826. Joseph Linnot, a child of about nine years of age, in Lazarus's ward, under care of J. Morgan.1

I found your manuscript last night. I don't know what drove me to seek it in the back recesses of the medical school library. But there it was, high on a shelf. The last person who touched it came 20 years before.

Thomas, what was it like? Did dust hang in the air, illuminated only by streaks of light from the windows high on the walls? Did the pathology theatre smell of old wood and winter boiler steam? Or maybe it smelled of pressed flowers or candles, set in jars to compete with odors of the specimens. Could you hear the footsteps of the patients and staff a floor overhead, the creaks and groans of the beams?