In 1582 Ambrose Paré said in the preface to his surgery that he had striven so successfully for forty years to bring surgery to perfection that posterity would not be able to surpass us save by some additions such as are easily made to things already discovered—and all that we have left of his teaching is the use of the ligature.
In 1882 Samuel D. Gross, founder and first president of the American Surgical Association and the leading surgeon of his generation, said, "Operative surgery challenges the respect and admiration of the world, and if it has not attained its finality it is as nearly perfect as we can hope to make it"—and he had never performed an appendectomy.
If these men, who were the greatest in their day, were so mistaken, it would be absurd for any of us to say that the last word has been spoken concerning
MOORE JE. HAS THE LAST WORD BEEN SPOKEN CONCERNING APPENDICITIS?. JAMA. 1914;LXIII(9):757-760. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570090043012