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June 26, 1981

Judge Not...

JAMA. 1981;245(24):2525. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310490043028

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Today, acronyms and abbreviations have leaped from the printed page and become part of our verbal lexicon. TPN, NAD, ITP, and RPGN are but a few that roll off the tongue of the speaker at a meeting or from the student presenting a case at rounds. Physicians seem to have adopted the alphabet-soup language concocted by the New Deal during the Depression and seasoned by the Pentagon during the wars that followed.

A physician's stationery sometimes will show his name followed by his academic degrees: AB, MS, MD, PhD; then his specialty status: FACS, FAAFP, FACP, AGA. Following that, we may encounter SC, Ltd, PC, or Inc, or whatever a particular state law requires as the corporate identification our convoluted tax laws have driven some of us to form.

From academe, however, comes the meanest yet noblest appellation of them all. That diamond in the dung, truly the silk purse