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In Reply.—It was never our intention to downgrade the work of any private practitioner, and we did not intend to imply that pediatricians are not available to their patients. The point remains, however, that a poisoning is an acute crisis requiring immediate intervention. The private practitioners that I know do not sit at a phone waiting for a call even when they are "on call." They use various means to "screen" their calls prior to answering them. Such techniques as answering services, beepers, and answering machines all combine to help the physician live a more normal life even when on call. These techniques tend to produce a time lag between the incident and the physician's response. Thus, if a parent is to respond to a poisoning in an educated, informed fashion, he or she would have to wait anxiously for the physician to call back. Many times this leads
MARCUS SM. Availability of Physicians Through Call Schedules-Reply. Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(6):541. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140080011003