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February 13, 1987

True Confessions

JAMA. 1987;257(6):836. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390060126040

The elevator door closed and I thought I should use the stairs while making rounds to get more exercise. I wasn't going to let a middle-age roll sneak up on me.

"How is that bacterial endocarditis in 417?"

Turning around, I noted that the disembodied voice belonged to one of our brighter young house officers. Did he notice my look of frustration with his syntax or his discussion on a crowded elevator of a patient's condition? We walked off the elevator together and sat down at the nurses' station. He glanced through a large folder of computer-generated laboratory reports and flipped on the switch of the computer terminal.

"I noticed three positive blood cultures on this morning's run sheet and thought I'd better check the chart."

Without moving more than his wrist, he quickly reviewed the green glowing screen of the floor's census and a list of my patients presently