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Richard R. Babb, MD
JAMA. 1981;246(23):2693. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320230019017.
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ABSTRACT

I considered myself one of the best and brightest. Having just left a prestigious residency and fellowship program, I thought that I was honed to a fine medical edge. My first law of medical practice (more were certain to come) was soon declared: A wheelchair outside the treatment room door means trouble and should be avoided at all cost.

Nonetheless, I violated my own law one day, and after taking a deep breath, I stepped over a wheelchair, opened a door, and met John. He was a referral from a colleague, and I was silently furious because John, age 14 years, had cerebral palsy, was painfully deformed, and was extremely ill. He had been abandoned by his parents at an early age, knew few friends, and lived in a foster home. And there he was in my treatment room!

John had widespread cancer. During the next year, numerous and prolonged

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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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