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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 28, 2010


JAMA. 2010;304(4):477. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.899

Like most lives that are worth while, the life of the physician is weighted with heavy responsibilities. The problems, both of disease and of health, which it presents, demand a keen appreciation of values and refined judgment; and how, one asks, can these be acquired except by the closest, the most unremitting, the most single-minded concentration of interest, of purpose, and of activity? With “the life so short, the craft so long to learn”—with accident and occasion perpetually conspiring to snare away the golden fleeting minutes—with human powers so often failing before the great tasks set them--the conscientious man is often led to feel that to “take the time” for intellectual activities which do not contribute directly to professional knowledge is an indulgence little short of a crime. For the overworked physician to steal an hour for the perusal of Carlyle or Coleridge when he ought to be “reading up” an obscure case seems a sort of professional suicide.

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