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December 20, 1976

Science and Clinical Medicine

Author Affiliations

New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center New York

JAMA. 1976;236(25):2845-2846. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270260011007

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To the Editor.—  In an editorial in The Journal entitled "Are Medical Schools Neglecting Clinical Skills?" (236:861, 1976), Dr George L. Engel has, in his usual eloquent way, raised the vital issue of the impact of science and technology in medicine on the clinical tradition. In doing so, he has referred to an article of mine (Arch Intern Med 134:150, 1974) and has suggested that it is my view that the effectiveness of the clinician is in some way divorced from the scientific method.There need be no doubt, I think, that the proper clinician indeed uses the scientific method, and that the best clinicians are those who do this most successfully. The fact that a clinician uses the scientific method does not, however, make him a scientist, and, in point of fact, it is precisely this confusion between the clinician and the scientist that is at the root of