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April 12, 1985

Preparation: Sometimes Good Is Not Good Enough

Author Affiliations

Texas A&M University College of Medicine College Station

JAMA. 1985;253(14):2043-2044. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350380059011

To the Editor.—  Dr Johnston's article entitled "Preparation," in the Nov 23, 1984, issue of The Journal,1 was somewhat unsettling to me both because it revealed yet another weakness in the medical education system and because it exhibited poor logic. First, the implied inadequacy of the medical education system in preparing students to encounter "a terrified, helpless old man dying in a horrible gory, painful death" is no doubt an accurate description of most medical education. It would, however, be interesting to know what Dr Johnston thinks would be adequate preparation for such an event.Second, although the article was interesting, engaging, and well written in other respects, it exhibited poor logic in several ways. For example, as difficult as it might be to imagine, the situation described as Mr G.'s death might have been even worse without the death and dying course that "seemed irrelevant and far away."