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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 23, 2000

CARE IN SIGNING CERTIFICATES.

Author Affiliations
 

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 2000;283(8):980. doi:10.1001/jama.283.8.980-JJY00002-2-1

A little care now and then will save a doctor some embarrassing mistakes. Not very long ago the newspapers contained the story of a physician who, from carelessness in affixing his signature on birth certificates, nearly ruined his reputation by giving himself as parent of those he had assisted into the world. He simply wrote his name in the wrong place on a few forms, and obtained for himself a regular Mormon reputation. Another doctor carelessly certified the cause of death on a certificate as "old age," giving the age of the patient as the duration of the disease—81 years. The certificate therefore declared the man born old and suffering all his life from senility which finally carried him off. Such little errors are comparatively unimportant, and easily corrected as a rule, but they may make one who commits them temporarily uncomfortable. As in signing petitions, men too often put their names down without attention to the documents they sign. A newspaper advertisement of one's oversights and errors, harmless though they may be, is not considered desirable by most people, and a physician derives no special advantage from serving as a source of public amusement.

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