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April 1, 1933


JAMA. 1933;100(13):1048. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740130052019

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Another Phase of "Social Reform"  Attention has recently been called in The Journal (March 4, p. 673) to the extraordinarily wide meaning given by the courts to the term "accident" in the workmen's compensation act. A man died from angina pectoris while cleaning out metal dross from a pot, and in spite of argument to the contrary the judge held that he had suffered a personal injury by "accident" which accelerated his death, thus entitling his family to compensation. An appeal was made to higher courts, which upheld this judgment. Though the personal injury could not have happened but for disease of the coronary arteries, the combination of disease and employment made it "a personal injury by accident." The Lancet has reviewed some previous similar legal decisions. In 1910 the leading advocate of the day, Sir John Simon, now foreign secretary, tried in vain to persuade the judges that injury

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