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July 26, 1941


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1941;117(4):275-278. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.72820300023006c

SERUM THERAPY  Although the adverse results of experimental and clinical study have caused the abandonment of convalescent serum therapy in poliomyelitis in many places, it is still customary to use it in many others, partly because belief in its efficacy persists and partly because no other treatment with any resemblance to specificity is available. In communities in which its use is customary, it is hard for the physician skeptical of its value to withhold it; if he should do so and the end result is paralysis or death, he may be blamed for the outcome. Since the treatment is ordinarily harmless, he is therefore apt to give it anyway. The situation is unfortunate. It is not the medical ideal to use treatment which is useless. One should weigh carefully the available evidence, both experimental and clinical, to find whether serum actually does benefit the patient and, if so, one should