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March 11, 1961

THE ART OF MEDICINE

J. H. T.
JAMA. 1961;175(10):898-899. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040100062013
Abstract

THERE are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor, and the shepherd not unfrequently; the artist rarely; rarelier still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilisation." Robert Louis Stevenson prepared this appraisal of the physician when his health was perhaps at its lowest ebb, several years before he sailed to the South Seas to regain his strength. In these critical times, when physicians are under attack, strength and courage in our professional beliefs and ideals are demanded as never before.

Technical progress in medical science has been phenomenal in recent decades. Has this been attained at the expense of the art of medicine? This conclusion I deny vehemently. A generation or two ago the physician had no choice but to rely largely on his skillful exploitation of the art of

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