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April 18, 1966

Guide to Diagnosis of Occupational Illness

JAMA. 1966;196(3):297-298. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100160147051

Occupational diseases defy diagnosis more frequently than those of nonoccupational origin. The medical practice of most physicians is within an area of readily accessible knowledge; in contrast, most physicians are unfamiliar with the potential hazards of the environment in which their patients work. Most medical school curricula devote little or no time to occupational medicine. Very seldom is an occupational disease case discussed during hospital staff conferences. Few physicians read journals or textbooks which cover occupational illnesses. Most physicians, therefore, are not prepared to evaluate the effects of an occupational exposure to toxic substances and hazardous materials.

Accurate diagnosis is important with all disease, but with occupational disease it is even more so because of medicolegal implications. These implications make it essential that physicians use the most specific methods available to determine the degree of probability that a particular disease or injury has resulted from occupational exposure. To assist physicians

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