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JAMA 100 Years Ago
April 24, 2013


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2013;309(16):1666. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.145388

Bacteriology was unknown, or at least in its beginnings, at the time when many physicians now in active practice received their medical training. Yet since that time, and based on that science, there has been a greater development in medicine and in surgery than was achieved in all the years preceding. As a result of the development of bacteriology, serum therapy was established, and finally Wright—less than a decade ago—inaugurated a method of treating infectious diseases by bacterial vaccines. When this new treatment was introduced, special skill was considered necessary on the part of those who used it: the worker had to be trained to recognize the different varieties of bacteria, to isolate them in pure culture and to know how to obtain the opsonic index. In a word, the treatment required a worker skilled in bacteriology with an unusual laboratory equipment. Now, however, physicians without special training are applying this treatment: no longer, it would seem, are these requirements of skill and experience regarded as necessary. Why?