August 1986

Avoiding the 'Gold Standard'

Author Affiliations

Pottsville, Pa

Arch Surg. 1986;121(8):973. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400080121023

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To the Editor.—The gold standard is a term being applied more frequently in the medical literature and in medical meetings. This is most unfortunate because it reflects smugness on the part of those who perpetrate such gold standards and may be more of an aid to lawyers than to practicing physicians. There is something immutable in the formulation of such a term. Fortunately, medicine has never stood still. Ten years from now, these gold standards, on review, will probably give rise to much amusement. It is also my understanding that we have been off of the gold standard as a nation since President Nixon's administration. Gold standards appear to be a relative of dogma. Delivery of both of these by our respected academic leaders can only lead to a decrease in the questioning process through which scientific advance is made. This is why I feel it important to

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