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December 4, 1987

No More, No Less

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif

Stanford, Calif

JAMA. 1987;258(21):3113. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400210055011

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For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a physician. When I was young, I was simply following human nature: my goal was to be just like my dad, who is a professor of neurosurgery. He went off to work each day and performed eight hours of miracles. Sometimes he even made it home for dinner. Later, in college, I had the usual premedical student's lab job and was taking the prescribed chemistry courses. I observed dozens of surgical procedures and accompanied my dad through morning rounds. I thought I knew what it meant to be a physician.

Then I got sick.

At the beginning of winter quarter of my sophomore year I developed stomach pains. Soon I couldn't eat. A swallow of water kept me awake all night in agony. I checked into the hospital and began a painful odyssey that led me from misery