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December 17, 1982

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JAMA. 1982;248(23):3095. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330230017014

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To the Editor.—  The commentary by Foreman and Hetznecker (1982; 247:3325) regarding the psychological dilemmas of physicians facing ostensibly handicapped pediatric patients highlighted basic and important problems well known to professionals in allied medical fields—impatience to diagnose and reluctance to institute habilitative measures without full medical diagnosis. While the outlining of such problems and of the psychological impact of treating children with handicaps may be beneficial, the discussion failed to suggest the most powerful solution to the issues raised—referral of the child for developmental assessment by an interdisciplinary team. The authors do themselves, as well as their patients, a disservice by ignoring the vast array of supportive allied medical and social services that are available to assist both the physician and the family as well as the child.The authors blandly reassure physicians that "there are times when to do is to wait... wait with the family and to observe."