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An Invitation to Excellence

James E. McLennan
Arch Intern Med. 1966;117(6):829. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.03870120093018.
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I ADDRESS myself to the invalid physician. Of all the oddities of existence, the one-armed golfer, the one-legged skier, the blind and deaf musician, none perhaps seems quite so anomalous as the chronically ill physician. Yet large numbers of these fellows exist. Many are drawn into medicine by their infirmity; they expect to be the mechanism of their own deliverance, they hope to help others with similar troubles, but largely, I suspect, the motive is one of empathy for the suffering—a oneness with the patient which cannot be taught in medical school nor be learned by even constant effort in clinical medicine.

The completion of a medical curriculum is physically taxing under optimal conditions of health; to choose this path when health is compromised is to set for oneself an arduous struggle. Yet to balance this, there necessarily exists a certain drive and spark lacking in the average student. The


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