Medicine: Careful!

One-fifth of the babies born in the U.S. at the turn of the century died before they were old enough to go to school. Today, if a child reaches his first birthday, he will almost surely reach high-school age. Reason : many of the leading child-killers of the past—diarrhea, whooping cough, diphtheria, scarlet fever—have been all but conquered. Pneumonia, heart diseases, TB and cancer still take a heavy toll, but even these killers are being discouraged by medical progress in treatment and early diagnosis.

On one death-dealing front, man has failed to make comparable progress. In the last 15 years, the Metropolitan...

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