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April 9, 1997

The Midnight Meal and Other Essays About Doctors, Patients, and Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Arizona Health Sciences Center Tucson

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1171. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380085042

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Dr Jerome Lowenstein is a professor of medicine and codirector of the Hypertension and Renal Disease Section at New York University Medical Center. He has trained and worked at that hospital and its sister institution, Bellevue Hospital, for more than 40 years. Since 1979, he has been involved in a seminar, the Program in Humanistic Medicine, which seeks to sensitize thirdand fourth-year medical students to various personal and psychological aspects of their patients, their work, and their eventual careers.

Lowenstein's short book of essays contains reflections gleaned from almost 20 years of discussions with medical students and residents involved in the Program in Humanistic Medicine. The "midnight meal" of the title refers to the shared midnight snack supplied to house officers on call by teaching hospitals in an earlier era. Not surprisingly, many of these essays deal with techniques and thought processes that preserve patient and physician humanity and dignity