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April 15, 1950

X-Ray Treatment: Its Origin, Birth and Early History

JAMA. 1950;142(15):1251. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910330133039

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This unusual book recounts the history of the application of roentgen rays in medicine. The author was a pioneer in roentgenology and one of the first victims of the rays; he presents evidence that he was probably the first person in whom the ominous dermatitis was discovered, and he believes that his survival after fifty years of the painful and mutilating consequences is to be explained mainly by his patient submission to the inevitable, repeated surgical operations. The pages (81 to 89) in which his convictions on this point are expressed are among the most poignant in medical literature, and they deserve to be read by every student. The author believes that the discovery of this dermatitis in himself led to the idea of a therapeutic use of the rays. There are some sobering lessons in his account of early experiences with the treatment of cancer. The book contains some

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