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Inside Story
Less Is More
September 2016

A Grateful but Not Passive Patient

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Personal Physician Care, Columbia, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1248-1249. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3569

As an environmental scientist and expert on evaluating risk, I’ve become something of a therapeutic nihilist. I rarely see my physician (Andy Lazris, MD, my coauthor, encouraged me to share and helped write my story)—and want no screening tests when I do. But when I had a heart attack at age 75, I was both very grateful for medical intervention and frustrated by hospital physicians’ subsequent failure to take my preferences into account.

It began as intermittent, burning abdominal pain and exhaustion. I called Andy, and he sent me to the closest emergency department, where I was found to have a right ventricular myocardial infarction (MI).

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