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November 1987

Dabbling in Head and Neck Oncology (A Plea for Added Qualifications)

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(11):1165-1168. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860110031004

The American College Encyclopedic Dictionary1 defines the word dabble, "to do anything in a slight or superficial manner."

One of the problems that faces medicine today is the so-called dabbler. The dabbler in head and neck oncology is one who manages a few patients, eg, five or six patients a year, usually with stage 1 or II disease, and possibly one or two patients with stage III or IV disease, does not have the necessary support personnel, lacks appropriate rehabilitation facilities, and fails to keep abreast of continuing education in head and neck oncology. In turn, this infers that the involved hospital is also part and parcel of dabbling in their credentialing system. We might call the hospital "the dabblice."

When one attempts to analyze the cause of this problem, a number of possibilities appear, one of which might be our free enterprise system. This, however, is not the cause;

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