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January 1992

What Is Pediatrics?: Prenatal Medicine to Young Adult Care

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(1):17-18. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160130023012

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In1969, when I became chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona, I visited the offices of pediatricians in Tucson. On one of these visits, I noticed a young man, approximately 18 years old, sitting in the reception area as both of us waited for the pediatrician. Somewhat surprised, I learned that he was there for his precollege physical examination. He had always been cared for by this pediatrician, and wished to continue receiving care from this pediatrician at this point in his life. My surprise was engendered by the "common wisdom" at the time that individual children, or their parents, wished to discontinue pediatric care when adolescence was reached or shortly beforehand. In the hospitals in which I had practiced, children were no longer admitted to pediatric units after approximately age 12 years, reflecting this commonly held thesis.

As we planned our department and the new hospital, we decided to accommodate the wishes of our patients, ie, that they continue to be

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