CHICAGO—Saying that clinical trials have confirmed such individuals provide comparable results to fully trained, professional physicians, the American Medical Association announced Thursday the introduction of new placebo doctors to administer general practice medical care to the American public. “Making sure patients are seen promptly at local doctors’ offices and clinics is one of the AMA’s top priorities, and by simply supplementing the nation’s existing pool of primary care providers with several thousand unlicensed individuals whose appearance and behavior are indistinguishable from those of real doctors, we can greatly expand the medical community’s ability to address patients’ most commonplace ailments,” said AMA spokeswoman Tara Cosgrove, noting that allergies, aches, and the common cold were treated “just as effectively” by regular people who convincingly walked into an examination room looking down at a chart; appeared to check a patient’s eyes, throat, and blood pressure; then told the patient that the symptoms were nothing too severe and should clear up within a week. “Patients will be unable to tell if they received medical care from an experienced, board-certified doctor or someone who is just wearing a white coat and stethoscope and speaks to them for a couple minutes about whatever is troubling them while jotting down nonsense on a form, and in most general practice situations, we can assure the patient that his or her condition will be eliminated regardless of which individual they meet.” Cosgrove added that while the new placebo primary care physicians have generally been found to correspond with positive outcomes, the AMA had yet to achieve an equivalent success rate among its pilot group of placebo surgeons.
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