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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 2, 2008


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;300(1):119. doi:10.1001/jama.300.1.119

It is gratifying to read such a generous appreciation of American state medicine as is contained in an article on “America's Triumph in Panama,” by John George Leigh.1 Mr. Leigh, it will be remembered, contributed articles to the Lancet2 explanatory of the climatic and hygienic problems facing the United States administration in the inaugural stages of work on the Isthmian Canal. He insisted that the success of the undertaking would depend not on the skill of modern engineers, of which there was no doubt, but on the question whether the health environment could be so ameliorated as to abolish the disastrous conditions that had caused the failure of previous attempts. He urged that the last word in the fateful decision then pending, between high-level and low-level plans, respectively, should be spoken “not by the aspiring engineer, but by the profession which will be held mainly responsible should the prophecies of ill be justified by events.” The temporary success of the adherents of the sea-level scheme and its speedy abandonment justified Mr. Leigh's foresight.