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October 12, 1963

Early and Untimely Prognostications

Author Affiliations

Lubbock, Tex.

JAMA. 1963;186(2):165. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710020085027

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To the Editor:  —It is high time the medical profession desisted from early and untimely prognostications on the illnesses of prominent people. Undoubtedly pressures from the press are considerable, and, admittedly, a brief comment may seem entirely innocuous at the time. However, we have seen a number of sad consequences of such reports recently. Senator Kefauver's heart attack was described as very mild, but he was dead within the next 24 hours. Similarly, the late Senator Kerr of Oklahoma was described as sitting up in bed, conversing, after an electrocardiogram which disclosed a minor attack. He, too, was dead very shortly thereafter. And there have been many others over the years.This is possibly the worst kind of publicity for the entire medical profession. It raises qualms of doubt for the average lay person, irrespective of assurances from his trusted and kindly family doctor. Every heart attack is now magnified

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