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Pectoriloquy |

Some Questions FREE TO VIEW

Jack Coulehan, MD
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Jack Coulehan, MD, Stony Brook University, Preventive Medicine, HSC L3-086, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8036; e-mail: jcoulehan@notes.cc.sunysb.edu


Editor's Note: The poet is an emeritus professor of medicine at Stony Brook University. He has written or edited numerous poetry collections and won many honors including the American College of Physicians Award for Poetry. He says of the poem: “I got to thinking of the kinds of questions that doctors and patients ask themselves and each other. Often the questions (and their answers) important to doctors are very different from those important to patients.”

—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP, Section Editor

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2008;134(5):1106. doi:10.1378/chest.08-1262
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What is the left ventricular
ejection fraction? How many METS
can he do before tiring? Where is
the toilet? Is he on Lipitor?
When will the doctor arrive? What
is his white count? Does the opening go
in the back or front? Can you bring me
a pair of socks? Is this your first
episode? What is the next step
after failing the test? Which one
will be last? Do the numbers lie?
When will I find out how big
my success is? In a case like this
what do you expect to see?
How often? Do you remember
the zoo in Sydney where you touched
a koala? Look at it this way,
what choice does he have? Isn't there
a song we used to sing? Haven't you
gone home? What is his sodium?
Is that tree a gum tree? Would you
work him up, or send him down?
Don't you see? Isn't this what you call
a broken heart? Doesn't something
funny happen? Where am I?
What is the differential now?
If your heart stops, do you want us
to beat on your chest and try to
start it? Is everything spinning?
Why did you wait so long? Is it true?
Is it a fact? And what is the left
ventricular ejection fraction?


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