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December 29, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(18):1651. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970350067025

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To the Editor:—  J. Walter Wilson, M.D., in "Dividing Lines in Specialized Medical Practice" (J. A. M. A.162:1025 [Nov. 10] 1956) states: "Studying bones recovered from early Stone Age strata, LeBaron found the skeletons of 18 men who had had fractured limbs, only 3 of which would be considered to have healed poorly, even by today's standards, thereby indicating that there were persons then living who had become expert at setting fractures." Although it is recognized that these statements are purely for background purposes in the development of his main topic, specialized medical practice, perhaps correction of two errors in the quotation above is worthwhile. First, LeBaron's study was concerned primarily with the neolithic rather than the paleolithic period (Paleès, L.: Paléopathologie et pathologie comparative, Paris, Masson & Cie, 1930). Second, although granting that surgical skills had been developed in the neolithic period (e. g., trephining), the argument

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