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A Piece of My Mind
June 19, 2018

The Perfect Specialty

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2018;319(23):2386-2387. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7132

“I just. Can’t. Breathe.” This was the patient’s reason for coming to see me. She paused between each word, emphasizing her breathlessness. It’s a chief complaint doctors dread, not only because of its seriousness but because it does not conform to a 15-minute return visit. It disrupts the day of both patient and doctor. But this was different. In this case, I was fairly sure there was nothing urgent going on. With this patient, this is how every office visit had started for the past decade.