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December 23, 1939

THE STUDENT SECTION of the Journal of the American Medical Association: Devoted to the Educational Interests and Welfare of Medical Students, Interns and Residents in Hospitals

JAMA. 1939;113(26):2359-2374. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800510071044

How to Elicit and Evaluate the Patient's Complaint  GILES A. KOELSCHE, M.D. ROCHESTER, MINN.My purpose in this discussion is to help the physician, especially the recently graduated one, to acquire effective methods of attacking a clinical problem and, by specific and concrete suggestions concerning the art and science of history taking, to enable him to acquire this ability more quickly than he might otherwise acquire it.The medical student is introduced to the subject of history taking by memorizing a list of questions which he will put to his patients. These questions have to do with all the symptoms which may manifest themselves in all parts of the human body during a lifetime. Early in his medical practice, however, he learns that the patient's answers to these questions do not necessarily constitute an accurate or diagnostically helpful clinical history.

OBJECTIVES  In eliciting a clinical history there are three main