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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 8, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(6):703. doi:10.1001/jama.295.6.703-b

We are privileged to add to the collection of erratic definitions of the practice of medicine one by Justice Joseph M. Deuel, who remarks that the practice of medicine consists of three things—diagnosis, discovery of the cause, and the cure by drugs, and that if a doctor does not prescribe drugs he is not practicing medicine. American Medicine very brightly remarks: “This must be wormwood and gall to the therapeutic nihilists, and it should stimulate our pharmacologists and therapeutists to renewed activity in their efforts to restore their special science to its at one time pre-eminence. In the meantime, the surgeon who reduces a dislocation and the physician who cures a tuberculous patient with cold air and good food, are not in the practice of medicine at all. It is difficult to comment temperately on such a blow at the medical profession; indeed, it is not possible to follow out the mental processes which result in such a conclusion.” We may call attention to the fact that some light is thrown on the mental processes of the judge by the fact that he is the one whose character and practices were laid bare by the exposures in the recent libel suit in which Collier's Weekly was vindicated for its attack on the vile Town Topics.

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