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Pediatric Social Illness

Ralph I. Fried, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460010013009.
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Sir.—The editorial remarks by Dr Pruitt1 were thoughtful, incisive, and important. However, inadequate medical care is only half the problem. The stresses in our social system that cause "pediatric social illness" are destroying the lives of our children.

This is the stated goal of pediatrics: "for every child a warm and accepting family and the opportunity to develop to the full potential of his or her Godgiven talents."

For the past eight years, I have interviewed 500 young men and women per month, all of whom were applicants for the armed services of our country. Most of them enjoyed generally good health, and from their histories one was able to conclude that their health care ranged from adequate to excellent. Still, a large number were leading lives in complete disarray and disorganization and were doomed to live out their existence dependent on assisted living or to become involved


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