[Skip to Navigation]
On the Brain
April 8, 2019

If You See Something, Say Something

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
  • 3Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, New York
  • 4Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
JAMA Neurol. 2019;76(5):519-520. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.0597

Family parties can be dull, but I (E.A.K.) attended one a few years ago with my physician husband that was particularly memorable. On arrival, I greeted my brother-in-law, Mike, who I immediately noticed had a facial palsy. I took my husband aside and asked him to let Mike know and advise that he see his physician. He did, and it turned out Mike had a Bell palsy, which resolved without further consequence.

I might have taken my coat off first before responding to my brother-in-law’s problem had it not been for an experience I had years earlier. While waiting for an elevator, I was joined by a woman I did not know. The earrings she was wearing caught my attention, and as I admired them, I noticed that 1 side of her face drooped. “Looks like a facial palsy,” I thought. “I wonder if she knows. I wonder if I should tell her. I don’t know her. She is not my patient. Is it really any of my business?” Then the elevator came. I was going up, and she was going down, and that was the end of it.

Add or change institution