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June 3, 1974

Name Confusion

JAMA. 1974;228(10):1273. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230350045030

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When John Homans, MD, wrote that calf pain caused by forcible dorsiflexion of the foot is one sign of deep thrombophlebitis of the leg, the finding soon came to be known as Homans' sign. It was not long before others writing about venous thrombosis were alluding to "Homan's" sign; John had been bereft of the family name's "S." A similar deprivation has been observed occasionally in manuscripts referring to Graves disease.

Such confusion of names reaches an all time best in an account appearing in the current issue of Archives of Otolaryngology (99:264-267, 1974). There, in a discussion of "Idiopathic Mandibular Bone Cavity," a symptomless oddity caused by inclusion of aberrant salivary gland tissue near the angle of the mandible, Drinnan concludes his essay with the following account.

In 1946, Dr. Martin Rushton, subsequently Professor Rushton of the Department of Oral Medicine of Guy's Hospital in London, wrote an article