Bedside Manners: A Patient's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals

Frederick Butzen
JAMA. 1982;248(23):3179. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330230077042.
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A physician, says the Devil's Dictionary, is one "upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well." Another definition, which is more to the point, holds that a physician is "an ordinary, hardworking fellow who just happens to possess the power of life and death." Numerous "consumer advocates" and muckrakers have written books that tutor the public on how to deal with this strange creature, the physician; but none have done so with as much wit as has Richard Gordon in his latest collection of essays.

Gordon is an anesthesiologist who took to writing somewhat by accident: "I started writing with a job on the British Medical Journal. I had the bright idea of running a doctors' comic column, but the editor had a sharper sense of humor and put me in charge of the obituaries. This was invaluable practice. It taught me how to write


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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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