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Article |

Life Is Short, the Art Long, Opportunity Fleeting, Experience Treacherous, Judgment Difficult

Charles E. Conner, MD
JAMA. 1988;259(17):2542. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720170018011.
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To the Editor.  —I wonder if it is only coincidence that the article by Drs Elliot and Hickam1 about the evaluation of physical examination skills appeared in THE JOURNAL so soon after the A PIECE OF MY MIND2 by the disillusioned student was published. Certainly the student had ample reason to be discouraged. If his story is anywhere near the truth, he was mortally ill, probably thought he was dying, and the only parts of the modern hospital complex that paid any attention to him, the central character in this little drama, were the hospital laboratory, the x-ray department, and other sophisticated and expensive specialty aids.I am an old and retired general practitioner. From 1939 to the late 1960s, it was my (often frightening) experience to serve my patients in whatever ways I could, without these machines and with precious little specialty help. This entailed a good


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