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September 12, 1986

Eponym's 's: Argyll Robinson, Not pseudo-Turner, Was e. e. cummings' endocrinologist

Author Affiliations

LSU School of Medicine New Orleans

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1295. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100069018

To the Editor.—  As senior medical students interested in the history of medicine and in eponymic nomenclature, we read with great interest Dr Vaughan's1 recent letter concerning the National Board of Medical Examiners' policy regarding the use of 's in eponymic designations. We disagree with Dr Vaughan's assertion that the "nagging dilemma" of correct and consistent usage of 's is properly resolvable by categorical deletion. While this proposal may indeed be expedient for the editors, proofreaders, and typists of the National Board of Medical Examiners, we strongly oppose this deviation from standard English usage.Having endured numerous National Board examinations in recent years, we can attest to the fact that the loss of 's is both "jarring to the ear" and "clumsy on the tongue" (eg, Crohn disease, Pott disease). Our foremost objection, however, lies in the blatant linguistic impropriety of this policy. Dr Vaughan states that the National