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October 1, 1982

The Music and the Medicine

JAMA. 1982;248(13):1541. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330130005001

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The harmonica sticking out of his lab coat pocket suggested that an unusual physician was walking into the hospital examining room. His slightly stooped shoulders made his 6-ft frame appear slightly shorter, and the hairline of his brown, curly hair, flecked with gray, was receding. Heavy, black-and-silver-rimmed glasses framed his green eyes, and the scars of teenage acne and the wrinkles of 50 years lined his face. The breast pocket of his stiffly starched white coat bulged with an assortment of pens and pencils, a penlight, several tongue blades, and the harmonica. As he greeted the elderly lady on the examining table, his hands commanded attention. Their wide span dwarfed the patient's in a firm but reassuring handshake. Huge veins were outlined on the backs of these hairy hands. The fingernails were clean and clipped short. As he asked her how she felt, he discreetly pulled down the sheet, lifted