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December 16, 1992

Difficult Diagnosis 2

Author Affiliations

Worcester, Mass


by Robert B. Taylor, 548 pp, $60, ISBN 0-7216-3481-8, Philadelphia, Pa, WB Saunders Co, 1992.

JAMA. 1992;268(23):3380. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490230110046

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The purpose of medicine is healing, and rational methods of healing depend upon diagnosis. Ninety years ago, Sir William Osler (in Aequanimitas) said that in the fight against ignorance, quackery, and folly, "... diagnosis, not drugging, is our chief weapon of offence. Lack of systematic personal training in the methods of the recognition of disease leads to the misapplication of remedies, to long courses of treatment when treatment is useless, and so directly to that lack of confidence in our methods which is apt to place us in the eyes of the public on a level with empirics and quacks." The book being reviewed here will help the modern physician in the diagnosis of some of the everyday problems in his or her practice.

Difficult Diagnosis 2 considers, in 515 pages, 71 topics in alphabetical order, from "abdominal pain, chronic" to "xerostomia." One hundred twenty-seven writers have contributed. The topics include