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To the Editor.—
The recent COMMENTARY entitled "The Mystique of Medical Training" reflects an attitude about the provision of medical care that I believe is unacceptable to the majority of physicians and surgeons in this country and that should not go unchallenged. The opinion expressed in this essay is that training residents to demand perfection of themselves in the care of their patients puts undue stresses on both the attending staff and the residents and that such a demand for perfection is both unrealistic and counterproductive. It is certainly true that physicians, being human beings, are subject to imperfections and will at times make mistakes. It is also beyond doubt that when such mistakes compromise the well-being or threaten the survival of our patients, the resulting emotional distress for the physician in question can be extremely difficult to deal with and at times, in certain persons, may be ego shattering.
Berger TJ. Mystique, Medical Training, and Clinical Excellence. JAMA. 1984;252(6):768. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350060020017