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July 28, 1989


JAMA. 1989;262(4):500. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430040070022

To the Editor. —  We report the first case of formphobia. The index patient, a physician, was cared for in our offices recently. He appeared to be mumbling numbers: "414.0, 715.9,162.9,250.0, or what is 250.4 (see also 581.81)?" After a consent form had been signed, a cup of hot tea was administered orally and a cool compress was placed on the physician-patient's forehead. When he was calm and rational, his history was obtained.He was a 52-year-old internist who graduated from medical school in 1963, completed an approved internship and residency in internal medicine, and served in the military; he had been in private practice (with a university affiliation) since 1969. He was board certified in internal medicine and in a subspecialty. Sensitive to his patients' needs, he always filled out insurance forms carefully and promptly to ensure payment and reimbursement. Despite the profusion and confusion of the forms, whether