Medicine: The Baby & the Rules

The water was boiling in the croup kettle that Irene Lingo was fixing for her five-month-old daughter, Laura Jean, when the baby kicked it over. The scalding liquid burned Laura Jean's back and one arm. Mrs. Lingo wiped her off with a towel, ran two blocks to summon her brother-in-law with his car, and in a few minutes presented the baby at the emergency room of small (112 beds) Woodlawn Hospital on Chicago's South Side.

There, Dr. Hans Jaeger (an experienced German physician not yet licensed to practice in Illinois) examined Laura Jean. He...

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