"TO CURE sometimes/To relieve often/To comfort always" is an ancient French proverb of great import. As medical doctors, we often forget that many of our patients' disorders cannot be fixed by drugs or procedures and that others1 will not benefit from biopsy procedures, blood tests, or sophisticated diagnostic studies. Yet, many of us seem content to function as skilled technicians; and as the time we allot to our patients constricts, the office visit becomes a venue for interventions or the hurried writing of prescriptions, and only rarely the occasion for the dispensing of comfort and caring.
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