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April 13, 1963


JAMA. 1963;184(2):142-143. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700150096018

Common speech tries to distinguish between the "artist" and the "scientist." There is a confused notion that one uses emotion and intuition, drawing support from inward genius, achieving great effects without knowing how or why, but that the other, employing rational analysis, is cold and precise, analytical and detached, surrounded by highly complex instruments that baffle the lay mind. In medicine, wherein a distinction between the "art" and the "science" is traditional, a similarly vague notion obtains. Today a discussion of the "art" of medicine will ordinarily conjure up the picture of a mature physician rich in experience, sympathy, and understanding who, not always knowing why or how, makes his patients feel better. He may, for example, be pictured with an old-fashioned microscope in the background, symbolizing the science that was accurate enough in its day, although its day is long past. The artist in medicine supposedly relies not upon

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