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September 29, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(5):338-341. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860390024007

In a recent publication Gillespie 1 said "There is a chapter omitted from medical textbooks which might be headed 'Iatrogenic (Gr. iatros, doctor) Diseases'; that is to say, diseases produced by doctors. It is not well enough realized that it is dangerous to give a label to a set of symptoms of disease until you are convinced that it is the right one. If a syndrome is psychologically produced (which of course the patient does not know) and if the doctor also does not know this and calls it gastritis because the patient complains of indigestion, or a weak heart because he complains of breathlessness or precordial pain, or even if he attaches to it some cabalistic letters, such as D. D.A.H., then he has implanted a suggestion in the patient's mind which fixes his anxiety in a way which, if not quite indelible, is at any rate very hard

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