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April 30, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(18):2109. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020180119023

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To the Editor:—  The emphatic views of Dr. Sidney Bolter on "The Misuse of Sympathy" (Medicine at Work, J. A. M. A.172:335 [Jan. 23] 1960) appear to be entirely original; I know no other doctor who feels that sympathy has little place in the practice of medicine. Dr. Bolter writes as a psychiatrist, but reading his paper (J. Michigan M. Soc.57:1708, 1958) leaves one with the impression that he has the entire practice of medicine in mind when he writes: "Unfortunately sympathy is not a scientific instrument. It cannot be dispensed in any measurable amount, kill bacteria, remove or alter the function of diseased organs, immunize against ill health, and, above all, it cannot foster psychological growth and maturation. Under the psychiatric microscope, sympathy can only be viewed as being saprophytic, feeding on emotional decay."Medicine has long been held back in its development by people

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