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All abdominal operations which involve section of the peritoneum are in a measure exploratory. The parts we seek are out of sight, and it is only from the signs, symptoms and history of the case that we can make a diagnosis; and the diagnosis warranting it, we are justified in entering the cavity. We are justified in entering the abdominal cavity, I say, for in the present light of antiseptic surgery, and with the statistics which we have to-day of successful laparotomies, hesitation on the part of the surgeon to attempt e.g. to free an obstructed intestine when the symptoms pointing to it are manifest; or to proceed to surgical interference in a case of appendicitis when the indications for such interference are clear; or to explore in cases of abdominal tumors where diagnosis is probable and the life of the patient is endangered; or
WILE WC. THE MEDICO-LEGAL ASPECT OF EXPLORATORY LAPAROTOMY.Read in the Section of Medical Jurisprudence at the Forty-first Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, held in Nashville, Tenn., May, 1890.. JAMA. 1890;XV(2):44–46. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410280004001a