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June 16, 1993

A Little Book of Doctors' Rules

JAMA. 1993;269(23):3041-3042. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500230123043

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I and many others know well the medical progeny of Clifton K. Meador, and we are impressed. This Master Clinician—for once the cliché applies—has been turning out compleat physicians for decades. Now he has written a book of "rules" or observations about patients and doctors, which summarize succinctly and humorously the travail that is medical practice.

The rules appear "in no order other than the sequence in which I recalled and recorded them." Meador takes on the simple ("Drugs should make patients feel better, not worse.") and the complicated (see the slightly distracting formula for the "Law of Prevalence" under Rule 48). But it is the candor of these pages that will entertain medical readers.

The advice imparted in this palm-size booklet is directed toward both the medical novice ("In the emergency room, assume that nothing is ever as bad as it looks at first.") and the seasoned clinician (on