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March 17, 1975

A Call to Recognize PCP

JAMA. 1975;231(11):1168-1169. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240230042022

We are tough and hardened men. The influence of Women's Liberation does not permit us to tip our hats to a lady. However, we respond to the smile of an innocent baby; and if ever compassion is felt in our hearts, it is especially poignant when we see a suffering or dying child. Our profession, dedicated to saving lives, has largely eliminated sentiment from our work. However, when a child's life is at stake, a physician will, with emotion, do all he can to save it.

One of the worst, fastest-moving, and cruelest killers of children is Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). This syndrome seldom develops in a strong, well-nourished child with an uncompromised immune system. However, children in the first year of life, who are malnourished or who have debilitating diseases or malignancy and whose immunologic status is compromised, are especially vulnerable. In the United States, the disease is less