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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 26, 2002

THE PHYSICIAN AS A SOCIAL ECONOMIC FACTOR.*

Author Affiliations
 

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2002;287(24):3179. doi:10.1001/jama.287.24.3179

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 this day.

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