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January 27, 1993

Bargaining for Life: A Social History of Tuberculosis, 1876-1938

JAMA. 1993;269(4):531. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500040103050

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A history of the medical and social approach to the problem of tuberculosis at a time when the disease was poorly understood and society was threatened with an epidemic of major proportions is a daunting challenge for identifying of resources and analyzing multiple types of information. Questions about the proper role of society in dealing with the concepts of care and welfare, while developing new ideas about health and hygiene, demand a wide breadth of information. An inquiry into the views of patients about their own disease and care is especially difficult. Dr Bates has managed to do all of these and more by presenting a microcosm of the medical, institutional, and social responses to "consumption" in Philadelphia and to a lesser extent in Pennsylvania generally, based largely on the correspondence and records of one major physician, Dr Lawrence Flick. By this approach, Dr Bates has illuminated the quandary that