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To err is human. A comforting thought, but it is no less embarrassing when human error leads to misinformation concerning physicians, particularly misinformation on physician deaths. Despite elaborate procedures in place in the AMA Department of Physician Biographic Records for verifying reports of physician deaths (eg, use of national news clipping services, receipt of death certificates, confirmation letters to a relative or friend), a few individuals, out of some 4000 physicians reported each year to JAMA as deceased, have been reported in error, and obituaries have been published naming individuals who remain very much alive.Although red faced, we are thankful to those few physicians in question who, no doubt encouraged to find themselves alive, have been gracious in pointing out our blunder. Their understanding is an indication of the trust physicians have in the AMA and its record-keeping activities. It is up to the staff to
Ryan GA. If I'm in JAMA, Is This Heaven? Obituary Disputed-Reply. JAMA. 1990;264(12):1536. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450120048026