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The $50,000 Physical

The $50,000 Physical

The $50,000 Physical

June 4, 2014: Recently, I was discussing the physical examination with some of our house staff after a conference on evidence-based medicine. I asked whether there was evidence to support performing an annual physical examination on a healthy patient. They did not know. “It couldn’t hurt,” one resident offered. I countered that it might, and then challenged them to come up with an example. Blank looks. Embracing the power of anecdote, I related the following story:

About ten years ago, when my father was 85 years old, he and my mother sold their house and relocated to an assisted-living facility in Pittsburgh. Shortly after their arrival, my father visited his new primary care physician for a “checkup.”

By Michael B. Rothberg, MD, MPH
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
www.Jama.com

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