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When Physicians Ask, Women Tell About Domestic Abuse and Violence

Karen Titus
JAMA. 1996;275(24):1863-1865. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530480007003.
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OBSTETRICIAN-gynecologist Richard F. Jones III, MD, recalled the first time he began to comprehend the effects of domestic violence on his patients.

Several days after hearing an assistant district attorney speak on the topic at a local medical meeting, Jones queried a long-time patient of his who had, over the years, exhibited signs of being abused. "I had always thought that maybe she was in trouble at home, but felt it wasn't any of my business," he told listeners at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), held in Denver, Colo.

"When I finally asked her, 'Did someone at home do this to you?' my patient said to me, 'Dr Jones, I've been waiting for years for you to ask me about this. Yes, my husband beats me with a child's baseball bat,' " said Jones, past president of ACOG and currently chief of staff at


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