[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 14, 1929


JAMA. 1929;93(11):849-850. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02710110035011

The medical sciences differ notably from other related disciplines in that the chief subject of their concern, diseased mankind, is only to a limited extent available for direct experimentation with respect to abnormal development, distorted structure, or aberrant function. The practitioner, in contrast to the "full time investigator," it is true, will find the human patient legitimately available for many types of observation that have greatly advanced the understanding and management of disease. As a rule, however, he is restricted to such experiments as nature has provided in the form of pathologic conditions rather than permitted to initiate the latter through intentional interference with the human organism. As Cecil1 remarked in an address at the Portland session of the American Medical Association, the practitioner will always approach a problem in medicine at a somewhat different angle from that of his laboratory colleague. The practitioner is intensely interested in the