JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
While man is mortal the practice of medicine will always be in one sense
of the word a losing game. That fact, however, does not justify a pessimistic
estimate of its usefulness and of its progress such as have recently been
made by one or two more or less prominent foreign writers on the subject.
The public generally has a sort of notion that diseases are treated by specific
remedies and this is the basis of their faith in the prevalent quackery of
all times. The fact that we do not have specifics for every disease is no
justification for the statement that we can not intervene successfully in
any disease, nor for the recent utterance of an English physician that we “can
practically do nothing to prevent death from a virulent bacterial invasion
or to bring about a cure.” Every successful practitioner can honestly
contradict this from his own experience.
MEDICAL PESSIMISM.. JAMA. 2005;294(15):1974. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1974-c