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December 27, 1941

When to See Your Doctor

JAMA. 1941;117(26):2295. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820520091054

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This pamphlet contains eight chapters dealing respectively with pneumonia, cancer, appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, diabetes, pulmonary tuberculosis, syphilis and heart disease. These chapters have been reviewed prior to publication by eminent physicians. Nevertheless the reviewer considers the treatment sketchy and inadequate. The title of the booklet, "When to See Your Doctor," taken in conjunction with the table of contents listing eight diseases, implies that only in these diseases does the author recommend seeing the doctor. The approach tends to favor self diagnosis, whereas the patient should be made conscious only of his own experiences which he can readily observe, even though he cannot interpret them. It is difficult to see how this booklet can contribute anything to the average patient's ability to decide when he ought to see his doctor and when he can safely procrastinate in the hope of spontaneous recovery.

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