A Deadly Backache

The patient's symptoms seem simple, but their cause might prove far more serious

By Tony Dajer|Monday, January 1, 2001
He caught my eye the minute he strolled into the emergency room, just before midnight. He had wrapped both hands around his lower back and kept straightening up, as if to work out a kink. The resident examined him first. "Seventy-one-year-old man with back pain," he reported. "Began six hours ago, and it's getting worse. Funny thing is, he didn't lift anything heavy, or fall. Should I give him something for the pain?" "Can you find where it hurts?" I asked. "I checked along his back. Nothin...

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