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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 6, 2010


JAMA. 2010;304(13):1503. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1295

The importance of vital statistics to the family, to the state, and to medicine, can hardly be overestimated. The physician, the representative of the science of medicine is, except in instances, the only member of society who can supply information in regard to causes of deaths and the presence of infectious diseases. As it is of very great importance to the family that its births, deaths, and cases of infectious diseases be legally recorded, and as the family presumably pays for the physician's services, the physician, therefore, should not consider his services fully performed nor that he is entitled to his fee until the certificates which are of such great importance are duly made. And again, the physician should remember when reporting vital statistics, that he is giving obedience to the statutes of his state, on which he depends for protection; that he is protecting the helpless; that he is doing a general good, and that he is serving the science of medicine.