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March 2, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(9):742-746. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810090020006

Whether or not the cost is borne by taxation, private fees or local charity,1 prevention is the most important phase of pediatrics and should be extended both by general practitioners and by pediatricians. "He who cures a disease may be the most skilful, but he who prevents it is the safest physician." Three fourths of the quarter of a million annual deaths of American children2 can and should be prevented. Twenty-one per cent of these deaths are due to curable diseases, while 56 per cent are caused by preventable conditions (table 1). The public should be educated to utilize the facilities available at present.1

During the last thirty-three years much has been accomplished, and the infant mortality rate in New York City, for example, has fallen from 140 per thousand living births to 55. This decrease has been mainly in the diarrheal deaths and probably is due

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