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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 14, 1998

THE USE OF ELECTRICITY BY THE GENERAL PRACTITIONER.

Author Affiliations
 

Edited by Brian P. Pace, MA, and Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.

JAMA. 1998;280(14):1226E. doi:10.1001/jama.280.14.1226

BY CALEB BROWN, M.D.

In the successful prosecution of any line of work it is necessary to have good tools to work with, and in no calling is this more important than in the treatment of disease, the relief of suffering and the prolongation of life, which are, or should be, the aim of every physician. Were we to examine the armamentaria of the general practitioners of medicine, we would find that where they had electrical apparatus it would, as a rule, be the farthest from up-to-date of any appliances they might have. The reasons for this are twofold: first, the market is flooded with, so far as treatment of disease is concerned, worthless but not always cheap electrical appliances, the fancied merits of these machines being constantly paraded before the medical profession by manufacturers and selling agents; second, physicians are not sufficiently well informed as to what they should or should not buy. Were we to ask every general practitioner in this country: Do you use electricity in your practice? many of them would answer yes, but should we examine their apparatus we would find in a very large per cent. of cases that their electrical outfit consisted of a so-called family or physician's battery, a box containing one or more cells, with a coil attached for the faradic current and possibly an arrangement for the galvanic current, but absolutely no reliable means of regulating the dosage. . . .

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