A paper that changed my practice: Optional illness

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 06 September 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:g
  1. Joseph Herman
  1. Assia Community Health Centre, Jerusalem

    Certain articles have a way of following you throughout your entire career, cropping up in widely differing circumstances. In my case, one such article would be “Varicose veins an optional illness” which appeared in The Practitioner 27 years ago.1 Rather than attempting a précis of it, I quote the admirably brief summary by Dr Jeremy Holmes, its author: “Eleven out of twenty-four patients admitted for routine vein strip for varicose veins were involved in recent emotional upsets or family crises. It is suggested that they might have become troubled by their veins in response to these difficulties, and have sought operation as a way of resolving them.”

    The paper is elegantly …

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