Importance of the Thumb

Richard A. Kirkpatrick, MD
JAMA. 1975;234(10):1017. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260230017006.
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To the Editor.—  I've always chuckled at the irony of the robber being robbed, the plumber's pipes freezing, or the electrician's house suffering power failure. My family always laughs when I, the physician, become ill with the routine illnesses we physicians dismiss as "common URI," or "simple gastroenteritis." Recently, when such a seemingly minor ailment caused drastic changes in my routine, it forced me to consider the patient's plight under similar circumstances.What seemed like a simple sprain of the right thumb from playing ball at the gym, the next morning became a threat to my existence. The doublesized digit throbbed when I awoke; I expected that. But when I found I couldn't hold the soap in the shower, the seriousness of the occasion began to sink in. I hoped my associates would forgive me for not washing portions of the left hemithorax that were rendered inaccessible. Next I discovered


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