Physician’s call to action: Compassionate medicine

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A nearly empty refrigerator taught Barbara Lutey, MD, one of her most important lessons in medicine.

Nearly two decades have passed, but the image of the desperate older woman whose refrigerator only contained walnuts, bacon and a half bottle of soda continues to sear. At the time, Lutey was an intern in her internal medicine residency, working at a clinic at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She was interviewing the woman, a primary-care patient with diabetes.

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