Sir.—Dr Helfer's1 response to Dr Comerci's letter on primary care and pediatrics was not very helpful. First, there are very few tasks in medicine or any other profession that cannot be broken down so that average nonprofessional persons can learn and perform them. I am certain that some of the ladies from the International Ladies Garment Union could learn to perform many cosmetic surgery tasks, and some could learn to do excellent cataract surgery. I know of a nurse's aide who was extremely facile in performing a wide assortment of urologic procedures and could easily have been taught to do cardiac catheterizations. What distinguishes a physician is not his ability to perform various specialized tasks competently but rather his wide knowledge base and his ability to use it to keep people well and to diagnose and treat illness.
It is a common act of gross arrogance on the part
Bader M. Primary Care and Pediatrics. Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(3):239. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460030017005
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