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Actors simulate an emergency department nurse caring for a patient presenting symptoms of Ebola.
Actors simulate an emergency department nurse caring for a patient presenting symptoms of Ebola. (Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine)

I commend the piece by Janice Lynch Schuster (“People are not Defined by their Diseases,” Oct. 14).

About ten years ago, after a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins Bayview used the word “case” to refer repeatedly to the patients presented to him, I initiated a campaign to assure that no Bayview colleague referred to a patient being presented or discussed with that word. More and more often I and kindred spirits called down “case” when a colleague uttered it.

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Today, I am assured that at Bayview the “C” word is rarely heard. We medical insiders concur with Ms. Schuster when we say “Which one of us would want to be named in that way?”

Dr. Randy Barker

The writer is a professor of medicine emeritus at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the division of general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

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