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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 19, 2005


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2005;294(15):1974. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1974-c

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.

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