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March 27, 1948

The Diagnosis of the Acute Abdomen in Rhyme

JAMA. 1948;136(13):905. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890300055024

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An amazing contribution to medical readers is this collection of poems by an author who chooses to call himself or herself Zeta. The book covers such subjects as appendicitis, perforated ulcer, colics and ectopic gestation with rhymes and fanciful illustrations. The rhymes are bad and the book is boresome, For example:

"Now Strangulation of a coil of gut Means that the blood-supply is from it cut." and, in a discussion of biliary colics: "The women say 'tis much worse than the giving birth to baby Though which they'd have if given choice, well, that is just may be." and finally, on ectopic gestation: "In seeking for his mate the eager sperm Up the Fallopian Tube his way doth worm" accompanied by a picture of the eager sperm with a checked cap and a striped tie.

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