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Article |

SCAPEGOATING

James P. Keating, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(9):948. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460090025015.
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ABSTRACT

The ugliest kind of untruthfulness in children occurs when they accuse one another. The problem is to find a scapegoat. Here a great mistake in rearing children is committed. Punishing a scapegoat is a pointless revenge and constitutes a new wrong.

The Son of a Servant August Strindberg, 1886

The yearly influx of newly minted physicians to our hospitals has led me to reflect on a physician behavior that is so elusive and ingrained that I cannot completely define or change it in this brief note. Even the origin of the word is clouded. In the Mosaic ritual of atonement (Lev 16:8), a goat symbolically invested with the sins of all the people was released into the wilderness to appease Azazel, an evil spirit. A medieval mistranslation of "Azazel's goat," rendered as "escaped goat," is the root of scapegoat, defined as one who is blamed or punished for another's shortcomings

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