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In 'Patients and doctors', physicians from around the world share stories of the patients they'll never forget, patients who have changed the way they practice medicine. Their thoughtful reflections on a variety of themes - from suffering to humor to death - help us understand the experience of doctoring, in all its ordinary and extraordinary aspects. In settings as diverse as Slovenia and Sweden, Cambodia and New Jersey, we learn what makes the healer feel graced with insight or scarred by misadventure. In Washington State, we anguish with patient and doctor alike when a young resident removes a screw from a little boy's foot; on the Israeli-Jordanian border, a woman goes into labor just as the air-raid sirens signal the beginning of the Gulf War. These compelling accounts remind us what is at stake in doctoring, reinforcing the value of stories in the teaching and practice of medicine : to calm, to validate, and to illuminate the human experience.