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June 1976

How Do You Do, Mrs Jones?

Arch Surg. 1976;111(6):723. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360240103020

When I was studying medicine, I was told of a gynecologist who had a poor memory for faces but a good one for perineums. A patient would come in for a checkup. The doctor would at first avoid addressing her by name. But suddenly as he viewed the focal area he would say, "Oh! How do you do, Mrs Jones?" I laughed when I heard the story, but recently I have found that it was not so funny.

About three years ago, to add some leaven to an aging Surgical Editor's loaf, I started work in the ambulatory clinic of a large institution. In the surgical clinic, patients are treated on a walk-in basis, so that one is either almost unoccupied or else too busy. I see between one and 15 patients an hour. It is like a hospital emergency room with far fewer cataclysmic problems. Suddenly, after a period