To the Editor.—I suspect that Denenberg and Smith1 may have missed the forest by looking at one tree in their criticism of the article by Reade and Ratzan.2 The defense of plastic surgeons was correct, but the fact remains that many doctors, who are not specialists, are advertising as such. In the Hartford review, 1014 individuals claiming specialist status were reviewed. Eighty-eight percent (895) were in the certified group and 12% (119) were eligible, but not certified.
A study of the Baltimore (Md) Metropolitan Area3 underscores the information supplied by Reade and Ratzan. Again, an examination of the Yellow Pages and the Directory of Medical Specialists was made. Investigation of 383 advertisers disclosed that 280 (73%) were certified and 103 (27%) were not.
A consumer, using the provided information, and expecting that these 103 doctors were certified, would be misled. The US Supreme Court4,5 and,
MILLER JM. Ethical Use of Yellow Pages Listings by Physicians. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(12):1480. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860360082023
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