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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 16, 2002


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2002;288(15):1920. doi:10.1001/jama.288.15.1920

With more accurate knowledge of pathologic conditions, their causation and natural course, the means employed by physicians for the prevention and cure of diseases have often become very different from those formerly in vogue. Surgical treatment has always been largely a question of mechanical skill and manual dexterity, the most important elements in the successful practice of surgery being ability to arrive at accurate anatomic diagnoses from practical knowledge of pathologic anatomy and to be able to relieve or remove such diseased conditions by mechanical measures. Surgical treatment has been rendered much easier and more certain in its results by the discovery of anesthesia and by the perfection of antiseptic measures. The management of the patient up to the time when treatment is instituted is identical, whether the physician be a surgeon or a practitioner of internal medicine, and the education and training demanded of each up to such a time is the same. While surgeons have quickly adopted mechanical measures in the treatment of diseases because it has always been considered that such are their legitimate therapeutic weapons, the followers of internal medicine have often continued to direct their efforts too exclusively to the administration of drugs to the neglect of mechanical means.