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Article
November 6, 1897

THE FALLACIES OF X-RAY PICTURES.

Author Affiliations

FELLOW OF THE MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SOCIETY; MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL SOCIETY. BOSTON.

JAMA. 1897;XXIX(19):949-951. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440450021002c

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Abstract

Roentgen's marvelous work on the properties of the X-rays (their nature is as yet unknown) has already been productive of much good in surgery and medicine—almost entirely in the field of diagnosis. The application of his discovery necessitates the rewriting of the text-books on fractures and dislocations. Facts, heretofore "smothered in surmise" are clearly set forth by the radiographs. For example, no writer, of which I am aware, on fractures, suspected the frequency with which fracture of the ulnar styloid process accompanies Colles' fracture; yet this frequency has been demonstrated by radiographs of Colles' fractures.

While much has been gained in accuracy of diagnosis by the aid of X-ray pictures, there is one branch of practical medicine where harm is threatened by their employment. I refer to medical jurisprudence. X-ray pictures have been already admitted as evidence in some courts. Their indiscriminate admission will hurt the cause of justice—because they

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