October 1970

The Surgeon Editor

Arch Surg. 1970;101(4):542-544. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340280094027

"A 60-year-old white American Indian entered complaining of chronic cough..." (Illustrative examples placed in quotes in this paper though fictitious are truly paraphrastic of actual items received.) It almost got by, so anesthetized are we by professional vernacular. Was it a slip generated by the automaticity of clinical jargon? Or was he an albino (rare in the red race). And, in the end, should the editor care so long as the work was of interest? In surgical editing, the decisions, though less far-reaching, can be as difficult as those made at the operating table.

On what basis, a prospective or rejected author may well inquire, are editorial decisions made. The simple, though insufficient answer is, "On the basis of interest and edification of our readers." A more complicated and informative one is, "On the quality of the work (if detectable), organization, grammar, length, illustrative material, and inevitably, the need for

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