JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
EDGAR J. SPRATLING, B.S., M.D.FORSYTH, GA.
In the long-forgotten ages, while men yet lived in caves, the figure
that stood out in boldest relief was the medicine man. When society began
slowly and timidly to organize itself into a body politic, the chipped flint
doing duty as both tool and weapon, the grain about which it crystallized
was the ever present medicine-man-priest. To him came his tribe, singly and
collectively, asking enlightenment and guidance. His war chief, however brave,
however fierce, was only tribal warrior leader, he himself being the real
ruler, holding the scepter of life and death over his people. His remedies
were few and therapeutically worthless, but his dogmas were all powerful.
This picture is faithfully reflected among all primitive peoples even unto
THE PHYSICIAN AS A SOCIAL ECONOMIC FACTOR.*. JAMA. 2002;287(24):3179. doi:10.1001/jama.287.24.3179