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April 7, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(14):1257. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960490071019

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To the Editor:—  In every generation someone sounds the ominous warning that the general practitioner is approaching extinction and will soon take his place beside the dodo bird and the dinosaur. Despite these prophecies the family doctor has survived the ice ages and middle ages and will survive the atomic age as long as there is a man breathing. The profession itself cannot survive without dealing directly with patients as people, no matter what brilliant scientific achievements are reached. There never will be an automaton to perform this vital function for the vast hierarchy of specialists, so-called specialists, and would-be specialists. The general practitioner is the link that will never be missing between the Olympian heights of the consultant and the murky depths of humanity, with its assortment of ailing gallbladders, neuroses, and dermatoses. If the general practitioners went on strike the whole superstructure of specialized practice would collapse and

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