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The Famous Can Present a Minefield for Doctors
The New York Times

As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” It is an observation that holds true, apparently, even in the operating room.

The treatment of Joan Rivers at a Manhattan endoscopy clinic last month may be the latest example of what is known in the medical profession as “V.I.P. Syndrome,” in which famous or influential patients get special treatment. And surprisingly often, it is not for the best.

Dr. Barron H. Lerner, an internist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said that when he was a young doctor-in-training at another hospital and famous patients arrived, “There was always a buzz.” Doctors were warned in advance of the dangers of becoming star-struck. But in the same, albeit contradictory, breath, they were given special instructions “about what to do and what not to do, given that they were famous.”

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