Re: Where are we going?

As a physician retired for 15 years after 23 years of practice at the Student Health Service of UBC, I couldn’t agree more with this editorial [BCMJ 2003;45(6):246].

The increasing difficulty I experienced in finding a general internist to whom I could refer a patient became more and more frustrating for both me and my patients. Which specialist would sort out the problem facing me?

To have a specialist in essence report, “Sorry, this case doesn’t belong to me,” was less than satisfactory. Or to have a patient return from surgery having received no information about her prognosis was to me bordering on malpractice.

Walk-in clinics were just appearing. My cynical assessment of those? They are for the lazy physician who will cream off the top with a 2-minute interview and leave the more time-consuming, difficult though more satisfying work to me.

I freely acknowledge the importance of ever-advancing diagnostic tools and tests—but I still believe a good history and physical can reveal a diagnosis in the great majority of cases and need not depend on resorting to these incredibly expensive facilities.

Is today’s medical practice as fulfilling as it was for me? Comprehensive medical care? Will machines replace a caring, dedicated family doctor?

—Dorothy M. Goresky, MD

Dorothy M. Goresky, MD. Re: Where are we going?. BCMJ, Vol. 45, No. 9, November, 2003, Page(s) 430 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply