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May 26, 1906


Author Affiliations

Visiting Physician to the Hillman Hospital. BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

JAMA. 1906;XLVI(21):1603-1604. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.62510480031001g

A large number—I had almost said the largest number—of our errors are those of omission. It is of a very common error of omission that I wish to speak.

Optimism is ordinarily a virtue, but when carried too far it becomes failing. It is characteristic of most of us in the consideration of the various possibilities surrounding the complaining individual who consults us that we give first thought to the minor ailments which he may have and in a falsely optimistic manner leave from our consideration all thought of the graver diseases. Reflection will, I am sure, convince any one of the fallacy of this mental attitude; for where there are conditions making possible any of several disorders certainly we should endeavor, first of all, to exclude by all the means of our power the most serious of these, and then take into consideration the least serious.

In passing, I

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