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April 7, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(14):1258. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960490072025

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To the Editor:—  In Foreign Letters, The Journal, Feb. 4, 1956, page 412, appeared an item, "Deaths from Penicillin," on a report in the Danish medical literature of "three recent deaths from penicillin" prefaced with the remark: " 'Please do not mention in the daily press!' " The item continues: "This warning is the more appropriate as the measures to be taken in preventing such deaths concern the physician rather than the layman." It seems to me that one of the major problems regarding the overuse of penicillin is the pressure the patient puts on a physician to "give me a shot" whenever he is sick. If the patient realizes the potential hazards involved, it is easier for a physician to refrain from giving an injection when there are no indications for it. In any event, the layman has a right to know that sometimes penicillin can prove fatal. After all, it

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