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July 17, 1987

Philadelphia General Hospital

Author Affiliations

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia

JAMA. 1987;258(3):327. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400030043027

To the Editor.—  The MEDICAL NEWS & PERSPECTIVES feature on the demise of Philadelphia General Hospital1 raised an important issue: are public hospitals necessary at all, anywhere? Unfortunately, like most contemporary authors who try to confront the problems of public hospitals and health care for the poor, your writer evaded this key issue, not daring explicitly to raise or discuss such a sensitive question.Well, I have no such qualms. I lived in Philadelphia at the time Philadelphia General was closed and returned to the city in 1984 for my residency, after attending a medical school in New York that made extensive use of a nearby city hospital. Neither in the 1970s nor in the 1980s have I (or, to my knowledge, anyone else) observed any adverse effects of the hospital's closing on the health of Philadelphia's substantial poor population. Presently, it appears that all patients in Philadelphia, regardless