Why Can't She Open Her Eyes?

A puzzling weakness leads to an unexpected diagnosis.

By Paul Austin|Friday, September 09, 2005
The patient was lying placidly on the stretcher with her eyes closed when I introduced myself. “I’m Paul Austin, one of the ER doctors. Can you open your eyes and talk with me?” She raised her eyebrows a few millimeters, not even enough to wrinkle her forehead. Her right eye remained shut, and her left eye opened just enough to expose a narrow sliver of white. She turned her face toward me, her eyes still closed. I looked at her paperwork. She was a 63-year-old woman who said...

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