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November 12, 1955


JAMA. 1955;159(11):1150. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960280072023

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HEAL THYSELF  Richard GordonReproduced with permission from Punch, July 22, 1953.—Ed.The public always appear surprised that doctors should fall ill, as though hearing that a policeman's house had been burgled or the fire station had gone up in flames. Doctors go sick fairly often, though they suffer differently from anyone else: they have only one disease, which presents both a mitis and a gravis form.The mitis phase is characterized clinically by the usual symptoms of malaise, headache, shivering, loss of appetite, coughing, and insomnia. It usually lasts several days, while the doctor does his surgery sitting in an overcoat and wonders why he's becoming so bad-tempered. He shakes off his symptoms like a wet dog and makes a diagnosis of draughts, late nights, or over-work.When he wakes up one morning with black shapes in front of his eyes he sneaks down to the surgery in his dressinggown and stealthily takes his temperature. A hundred and

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