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January 14, 1983

Readers Respond to 'Dirtball'

JAMA. 1983;249(2):279-280. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330260085042

Currently, I am a busy third-year medical student at a large university medical center in New York City. My primary purpose of writing to you is to correct the spelling of "spos" that was employed in the article "Dirtball." The correct spelling is "shpos." The word shpos can easily flow from the back of the mouth, whereas spos must be spat out with a great deal of force. I come into contact with dirtballs every day. The gomers I see have usually been produced by overly zealous attempts to extend the life of one who is to die.

It is a shame that "chiefs" don't get involved in teaching at the bedside. As long as the medical education system emphasizes technology and laboratory tests rather than bedside diagnosis, it will be easy for young doctors to hate their patients and call them nasty names. Laying on of hands would prevent