Curiosity and careful observation will always have a place in medicine. Too often, the pressures "to do" outweigh the needs to examine "what has been done" and, as a result, either ineffective or harmful procedures become standard forms of therapy. In the care of the fetus in utero and the newly born infant lie prime examples of such unrewarding policies. Retrolental fibroplasia, sulfonamide-induced kernicterus, the thalidomide tragedies, use of artificial feeds to replace breast milk, the overzealous use of sodium bicarbonate with resultant intracranial hemorrhage, and the late sequels of maternal tetracycline administration are all relatively recent reminders of the poverty of such practice.
One should be suspicious when the modifier "physiologic" or "atypical" is used as an attempted explanation. Terms such as "physiologic anemia" or "physiologic jaundice" are the last bastions of ignorance or sloth.
These thoughts were occasioned by the recent extensive survey by Chalmers et
OSKI FA. Oxytocin and Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia. Am J Dis Child. 1975;129(10):1139–1140. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1975.02120470005002
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.