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August 17, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLIX(7):607-608. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530070077013

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Labor-saving devices are as desirable in intellectual and professional life as in other forms of industry. The prescription itself is an evidence of this, and its abbreviations show the tendency of physicians to escape the labor of repeating words in constant use by employing symbols in their stead. The tendency to use one formula for a series of cases results from the same desire to avoid troublesome details, and the stock prescription for rheumatism or dyspepsia is as natural as the classification of symptoms into disease groups which makes it possible. The best managed hospitals have their standard tonics made up by the gallon, if not by the barrel, and prescribing in dispensaries is commonly slavishly confined to a formula book. The student soon learns that "Formula 38" is good for dyspepsia, and that "A. B. and S" pills are the remedy for constipation. It is unfortunately true that the

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