Dartmouth Medicine HomeCurrent IssueAbout UsContact UsSearchPodcasts


We were unable to obtain permission for Web use of this piece. If you would like a print copy of this article, please send your snail mail address to dartmed@dartmouth.edu. Be sure to note the article title and issue date.

The elderly homeless man had difficulty talking and was suffering from mild dementia. But one day a young doctor opened a door to his past and discovered that he had been a pilot in the Pacific during World War II. And that he had a compelling story to tell.

By Emily Reagle Transue, M.D

"Anyway, they were having trouble with their periscope and they finally got it fixed. And the guy says, 'I put the thing up, twirl it around, and the first thing I see is your ugly face!'" Mr. Smith laughed heartily. "Gave him quite a start, I guess."

"But the sergeant, he says to the doc, 'No way. They're gettin' their asses back on that carrier before nightfall. No two ways about it. Men,' he says, 'you're comin' with me.' And that old doc, he just looks at the sergeant."

Emily Transue is a 1996 graduate of DMS whose work has appeared often in these pages—most recently in the Fall 2000 issue. She is now a general internist in private practice in Seattle. This is a true story that took place during her internship at the University of Washington, but identifying details have been changed.

Back to Table of Contents

Dartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College