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March 30, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(13):1179. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970480083023

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To the Editor:—  In the lead article in The Journal, Feb. 16, an otolaryngologist resurrects a controversy regarded by many authorities as settled. Among the listed indications for tonsillectomy is one to eliminate "focal infection: metastatic, toxic, or allergic." This advice, if heeded, may undo much of the good brought about by general rejection of a theory once widely accepted. There is no proof that tonsillectomy cures or prevents a variety of systemic diseases. Furthermore, how does one decide whether a tonsil is chronically infected? The statement that tonsillectomy "can transform a puny, listless patient into a happy vigorous child" is reminiscent of one made by another otolaryngologist to the effect that universal tonsillectomy in childhood would improve the human race. Still another one envisioned a laryngologist's dream of an orchard of tonsil-bearing trees.The author failed to mention publications opposed to the concept (Fry, J.: Are All "T's and

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