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July 30, 1960


Author Affiliations

Former Chief of Fracture Clinic Massachusetts General Hospital Boston 14.

JAMA. 1960;173(13):1486. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020310074021

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INCE prehistoric times the teaching of medicine has been by precept and example. Before the establishment of formal medical schools, apprenticeship to a senior physician was the only means by which a young man could get a medical education. This came through practical experience. Case presentations became a part of medical teaching in medieval times, when Taddeo Alderotti (1223-1303) at Bologna introduced a new form of medical literature called "consilia." These were discussions of clinical cases, giving a description of symptoms and full details of treatment. The case method of teaching has stood the test of time for centuries; it has been used in the law as well as in medicine. Fractures lend themselves well to this type of instruction, and amazingly accurate presentations of certain fractures were given by Percivall Pott (1713-1788 and Abraham Colles (1773-1843) even before Roentgen's discovery of the x-ray in 1896.

Since the turn of

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