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To the Editor.—
I would take issue with Dr Vaisrub in his editorial, "Immaterial to Diagnosis" (234:187, 1975). Though my first reaction to the uproar about the word "attractive" being used in a physical examination report of a woman was that it was much ado about nothing, I then thought of the distinct value of such a descriptive word, not because it "appeals to libidinous drives" but in view of its giving the writer of the report, as well as other physicians reading the report, possible insights into both the organic and the emotional state of the patient in question.Generally speaking, I think we would all agree that organically ill patients are not usually described as "attractive" (except perhaps in very early stages of the illness). A symptomatic woman patient termed "attractive" in the physician's report certainly may suggest conflicts within the patient's psyche. Moreover, when Dr Vaisrub stressed how
Coodley AE. Immaterial to Diagnosis. JAMA. 1976;235(10):1004. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260360014010
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