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July 28, 1956


JAMA. 1956;161(13):1275. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970130063022

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To the Editor:—  The interesting article by Margolis and Mendelsohn, "The Medical Social Caseworker in 'Private' Medical Practice" (J.A.M.A.161:309 [May 26] 1956), calls for some comments. This article shows how a psychiatrically trained social worker can contribute to the management of a difficult psychosomatic problem. The family doctor may not need such cooperation; he is informed not only about the physical ailments but also about the social and family background of his patients. The group of specialists, or the outpatient clinic of a large hospital, may not know their patients as well, and cooperation of a qualified social worker may be useful and is certainly timesaving. Serious thought should be given, however, to the extent to which delegation of the duty of obtaining a detailed history is desirable. The interpolation of a third person has the inherent danger of abolishing the close doctor-patient relationship. This may be unavoidable

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