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November 21, 1953


Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va.
From the departments of roentgenology and pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, and the University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville, Va.

JAMA. 1953;153(12):1077-1080. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940290009004

An editorial in The Journal, Feb. 7, 1953, stated, "Although there has been a remarkable decrease in rate of death in the first year of life during the past quarter of a century, the number of infants dying in the first 24 hours of life has diminished but little." The editorial was stimulated by Fischer's article "The First Day of Life, the Physician's Responsibility," which appeared in the November, 1952, issue of the Medical Clinics of North America. As Fischer emphasized, since 1945 an infant's chance of dying has been greater during the first day of life than at any time between the 2nd and 12th months (fig. 1). He commented, "That this cannot be lightly passed off (as) due to the absence of medical care at birth is... proved by the fact that in 1950... in Philadelphia, where 95 per cent of infants are born in hospitals..., 534 of