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December 12, 1953

Fool's Haven

JAMA. 1953;153(15):1411. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940320083038

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This is a short, fast-moving story of a college student and his fiancé, the daughter of a member of a religious sect that believes in faith healing and forbids any reliance on medical care. "One can not have both God and a doctor," the self-ordained pastor of this sect is quoted as saying. The story is probably not lasting prose, but it raises what may be a lasting question, namely, the right of society to interfere with a person's religious beliefs when those beliefs deny to a sick person proper medical attention. The student is amazed when he discovers that his future mother-in-law will not allow her son to be given Pasteur treatments after he was bitten by a rabid dog. He is, of course, irate but powerless to intervene. When his fiancé dies of acute appendicitis without having been offered the advantages of proper medical care and hospitalization, her

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