By That I Mean Angina Pectoris

Burnham, Gregory

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet
  • Date of entry: Aug-26-2005


This very short story is told from the point of view of an adult child who has just learned that his (or her) father has been taken to the hospital for angina pectoris. The narrator recounts in a telegraphic form what it is like finding his (her) way through the hospital to the doctor and finding out the verdict about the father's condition.


This story is excellent for use in situations when advanced preparation is not possible, as well as in traditional literature and medicine settings. It raises the issues of what it feels like to receive bad news, how one's perceptions are affected by extreme shock, how doctors give bad news, and how it feels to be the doctor in situations like this one.


Author's copyright 1988

Primary Source

Vital Lines: Contemporary Fiction about Medicine


St. Martin's

Place Published

New York




Jon Mukand

Page Count