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May 20, 1944


JAMA. 1944;125(3):229. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850210051028

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To the Editor:—  I thought your editorial in the April 8 issue on clinical thermometry most timely. I have tried for more than forty years to combat that sloppy attitude toward the thermometer.Now I wonder if you couldn't go a step further and call attention to what I regard as an equally culpable error; that of failing to take into consideration the normal diurnal variation of human temperature. I find nurses, even in first class hospitals, reporting a temperature of 98.6 F. taken at 6 or 8 a. m. as normal, while any one who has given the matter close attention knows that it is the equivalent of 99.8 F. for the late afternoon or early evening.I have known this to lead to serious consequences, as the patient, assuming that his temperature was normal, went out and got a serious and, in 2 instances, a fatal relapse.If

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