Relates a case in which stopping to really hear what the patient was and was not saying may have saved her life.

I stood at the door watching the ambulance roll slowly out of the bay. As I shot a partingglance over my shoulder, Donna (not her real name) wanly opened her eyes and waved. Icould detect just a hint of a peaceful smile.My day with Donna had started at 0645 am. I had just laid down to go to sleep, when Iwas called to the ER. Donna had not arrived yet, but I was told that she was en route andthat I would know her when she arrived because she was a little “off kilter.” “Great.” Ithought to myself, shaking my head. Nothing coming in this week had beenstraightforward or easy. I kicked myself for not having gone to bed earlier.

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