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April 29, 1974

Exorcizing the Spooks

JAMA. 1974;228(5):568. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230300015013

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To the Editor.—  The comments of Dr. Lois DeBakey seemed quite sensible. Your editorial response to her implies that verbal and written literacy is, of necessity, separated from the practicing physician. This is a continuation of a philosophy operative in society today that would make physicians less literate, less knowledgeable, less responsible, and defunctionalized individuals. There is nothing inherent in our training or mission which would make this so.It is not uncommon today to witness young men with brilliant minds being unable to construct a simple complete sentence. If they have gone to less acceptable means of expression and communication, it is because of our own permissiveness as teachers and by our own poor example that we have allowed them to do so. Most assuredly, you did not intend to suggest that your publication, which has long promoted literary skill, would deliberately subvert the development of the complete individual