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January 14, 1933


JAMA. 1933;100(2):107-110. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740020025007

"Primum non nocere"—first of all do not cause any harm—is the classic Latin pronouncement as to the duties of the physician toward his patient. Legal authorities tell us that the average physician when taking charge of a patient must have the reasonable degree of learning and skill that is ordinarily possessed by physicians and surgeons in the locality where he practices. On the other hand, "a physician who holds himself out as being specially versed in some phase of medicine is required to possess special knowledge and skill, not merely such knowledge and skill as the average physician has but such as is possessed by the average specialist."1

The modern development of medicine and surgery with the tendency to the extended use of apparatus for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes has made these demands much more complicated. The doctor is not only supposed to be a diagnostician and have a

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