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March 24, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(12):691-695. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860120007002

There is probably no more interesting, uncertain or hazardous clinical domain in childhood than acute conditions in the abdomen and pain is the presenting symptom, the warning signal, that something has gone wrong and that it may be serious. That it is not usually so has in itself an element of danger. The very fact that the incidence of conditions that are not serious is much higher than that of those that are may lead to a lack of wariness that may be fateful. The differentiation cannot be made safely on the telephone. The difficulty in diagnosis is not due to the fact that the infant cannot talk and the older child may not be able to give an intelligent account of his symptoms. The pediatrician is as much at home with the youngest child as he is with the oldest. The morbid anatomy of the child is distinctive and

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