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April 4, 1959


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1959;169(14):1628-1629. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03000310080017

RECENTLY Keefer1 and Rhoads2 discussed the origin and meaning of the term "internal medicine." They did not bring out, however, what was well known at the turn of the century when German medicine dominated American medical thought, that "internal medicine" is simply a translation of the German innere Medizin. We must therefore seek the meaning of the term internal medicine by ferreting out the origin of the German innere Medizin.

In looking over the important German treatises on medicine one finds that until the last quarter of the 19th century they were all designated as textbooks of pathology and therapy without any suggestion of the words internal medicine. Felix Niemeyer, in his "Lehrbuch der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie" (Berlin, 1859), says "One will readily discover everywhere [in the book] the scientific striving to apply the newer physiology to the explanation of the pathological and therapeutic facts, and to