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July 20, 1918


Author Affiliations


From the Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy, Jefferson Medical College.

JAMA. 1918;71(3):174-175. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600290016006

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The subject of retropharyngeal abscess is so vaguely understood by many general practitioners, and the results of an error in diagnosis may be so disastrous, that the report of a case should be of value.

The case is reported not on account of original material, but because of the lesson that it teaches. We are too prone to adopt the habit of looking for the usual condition in a part affected, and to overlook the unusual condition when it appears. The careless physician commits the sin of assuming the usual condition. In this case the baby's life could have been saved in hardly more time than a physician would consume in putting on his overcoat. One of two conclusions must be drawn, either a physician was not called or, having been called, was negligent. A digital examination would have given him the diagnosis.

No history of the disease can be

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