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January 23, 1978

The Family Practice Concept Debated-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1978;239(4):293-294. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280310025004

In Reply. —  According to the letter from Dr Ross, the trend to educate family physicians is potentially harmful. Unfortunately, this typifies the "emotional rhetoric" that so frequently clouds the issues related to family practice. So many of the arguments pro and con are opinion, but expressed as fact, and prejudices based on anecdotal experience, not an informed view. Although it is tempting for me to respond to each of Dr Ross's assumptions, to ask for supporting data and/or provide information that would contradict his statements, I will limit myself to the following:

1. Omniscience is a prerequisite to practice family medicine.—  No one with whom I have spoken and who is a family physician or is involved in educating prospective family physicians believes the generalist can "know it all." This is a cruel fallacy. Those physicians who feel they should know it all fail to understand the selectivity that