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Primary Care

Lawrence L. Hirsch, MD
JAMA. 1974;229(3):339. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230410063035.
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Like so many euphemisms, "primary care" has become either meaningless or pejorative. The obstetrician-gynecologist, family physician, internist, emergency room physician, nurse practitioner, and pediatrician, all have claimed the term or have had the epithet hurled at them. The denigrative use of the concept by some of the contributors to this volume is evident. However, there are several contributions where the term is used as a professional accolade.

Special notice and commendation must be given to Irving Polayes' "Fingertip Injuries" as well as to Anthony Reading's "Dealing With Alcoholism in Office Practice." Both authors are lucid and informative. Polayes presents a reasonably detailed analysis of common digital trauma and discusses the rationale of surgical repair, with a concern for function and cosmesis. (Twenty photographs and one drawing illustrate his examples.) In quite a different style, Reading's essay emphasizes the patient-physician relationship and warns of pitfalls in the treatment of the alcoholic.


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