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April 19, 1971


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1971;216(3):519. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180290093025

To the Editor:—  The article by Woodruff et al on "Hysteria" represents the type of scientific logic mutated from original Hippocratic concepts that has alienated many medical students and young physicians from the current methods of medical practice. The emphasis placed on establishing a diagnostic label that then leads to a prescribed treatment denies the human uniqueness of an individual patient. The word "physician"—derived from the Greek root meaning nature — was used by Hippocrates to denote that every practitioner of medicine was to be skilled in nature and must strive to know what man is in relation to food, drink, occupation, and which effect each of these has on the other.... to heal even an eye, one must heal the head and even the whole body.1Or, as Osler paraphrased this in his instructions to his students, it is better to know what sort of patient has the