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IV. The Costs and Returns to the Patient of the House Officer Training Program

Norman B. Roberg, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;176(12):983-986. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040250009004.
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THERE has been criticism of the quality of care received by patients under the house officer training program. The principal complaint is that some house officers are inconsiderate of their patients' psychological and emotional needs. A second complaint, mostly from physicians, is that patients suffer because the house officers do not possess adequate technical skills and are schooled only in the scientific and theoretical aspects of disease. I am sensitive to these criticisms, especially that of personal inconsideration of the patient, because I spent 15 years as a family doctor, practicing with my father, who was a general practitioner, and made some 8,000 visits to patients in their homes, before joining a faculty of medicine. It is unfair to contrast extremes, but I am certain that sympathetic understanding, combined with medical ignorance, has caused more deaths and unhappiness than has expert scientific knowledge of disease, accompanied by neglect of the


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