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The Pediatric Forum
June 1998

Professional Identity and Its Responsibilities

Author Affiliations

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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(6):606. doi:10.1001/archpedi.152.6.606

I was surprised to read in the ARCHIVES that next November's issue will feature articles on "Alternative Medicine."1 I assume that your intention is a critical approach to this subject. I was wondering, however, whether you realize that with this presentation you unintentionally legitimize alternative medicine in a journal issued under the auspices of the American Medical Association. The very name of "alternative medicine" implies the existence of another medicine whose theory is not based on science and whose practice does not follow the time-honored art of diagnosis and therapy. Furthermore, "alternative medicine" is not practiced by medical graduates and does not follow the principles set by Hippocrates. The purpose of this presentation is not clear and its implications will be harmful to the profession and our patients. Your initiative is particularly irritating when one considers the chronic conditions so frequently seen in pediatric patients and the despair their parents are driven to in seeking a cure. After all, if there is no "alternative law" or "alternative engineering," why should our profession allow the laxity of attitude to recognize an "alternative"?

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