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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 26, 2000


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2000;284(4):411. doi:10.1001/jama.284.4.411


I believe that the vast majority of the practitioners of medicine never make an examination of the blood of their patients unless such an examination is suggested and carried out by a consultant. The reasons for this may be many, but the following I believe to be the most important: 1. Blood examinations as practical diagnostic measures are of comparatively recent origin; consequently, men who graduated fifteen or more years ago were not taught the value of such examinations, or how to make them. Unless such members of our profession have had the subject forced upon them by teaching, or by continued intercourse with men trained in such work, they are quite unlikely to take it upon themselves. 2. Blood examinations, like all other valuable diagnostic measures take time. The general practitioner is hurried; in the town competition is great; and those who depend upon the practice of medicine for a livelihood are apt to become careless about the use of these finer diagnostic measures, and depend upon less certain means of diagnosis. To once slur these valuable agents is to learn to gradually discard them, to the great detriment of ourselves and our patients. It is certain that in many cases examination of the blood is quite as important as, indeed more important than, examination of the urine. It is now an accepted fact that no case is thoroughly studied without a urine examination. I believe it will soon be accepted by the general practitioner—as it is now recognized by the specialist—that a blood examination is equally as important for a thorough study of our cases.