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Retraining Pediatricians as Geriatricians

David Siegel, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(2):122-123. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460020012003.
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Sir.—I would like to comment on the recent editorial by my teacher, friend, and colleague, Dr McAnarney,1 concerning retraining pediatricians as geriatricians. The current dearth of physicians to care for the enlarging elderly population is a matter of great concern to all of us. It is therefore encouraging to see efforts toward new and creative solutions to this problem.

As an internist and a pediatrician, I agree that both the young and old do experience rapid physical and psychological changes resulting in significant challenges of identity, independence, and control. However, I believe there are fundamental differences in how these transitions fit into the context of the individual's life. An older person may confront debilitating illness that limits and changes previous independence and control, but he or she experiences these developments with the perspective gained from having already moved through youth and adulthood. Elderly people know what their previous


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