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March 22, 1924


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1924;82(12):944-945. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650380012003

Percussion, as practiced by the best physicians, is probably applied less correctly than any other method of physical examination.

In any hospital we can observe clinicians percussing with two or more blows, when only one should be made; comparing the note elicited between ribs with that on the other side of the chest elicited with the pleximeter finger crossing ribs; placing themselves incorrectly to compare the reflected axial sound waves of the two sides, and in several other ways failing to obtain exact results. An awkwardness is also revealed not unlike that of Vulcan or of the blacksmith's son, Demosthenes, before he removed the distortion that accompanied his utterance, by watching his motions in a looking glass.

In 1761, Leopold Auenbrugger,1 after seven years of careful study, published his famous work and gave the name to and described the method and results of percussion.

As Laënnec was led to

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