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