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ARTICLE |

When the Scalpel Sharpens the Pen

Frank G. Slaughter, MD
JAMA. 1967;200(1):19-22. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120140077010.
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ABSTRACT

The curiosity of the public about things medical is probably greater than on any other single subject—except perhaps sex. Fortunately, a novelist willing to undertake the grueling discipline necessary to learn his trade can combine the two to his considerable benefit. And if he is lucky enough to have had a medical education and the experience of practice, with the understanding of human nature which these always generate, his chances of success are considerably increased.

When does the story-telling instinct begin? Perhaps at conception; certainly the capacity to recognize instinctively those dramatic situations which lie at the heart of all fiction, whatever the medium, seems to be the only part of the writer's skill that cannot be learned. And even when it exists, it must be sharpened.

Storytellers are always story-lovers. My own love affair with dramatic stories undoubtedly began when, while still a small boy, I discovered a stack

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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