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September 8, 1883


JAMA. 1883;I(9):268-271. doi:10.1001/jama.1883.023900900120001e

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By many persons, the study of disease in infants is regarded as peculiarly difficult, because of the absence of speech by which to indicate the presence and location of certain symptoms. The late Prof. C. D. Meigs, on the contrary, was wont to felicitate himself on this as an advantage. He would say, “An infant never tells a lie.” It cannot imitate the young lady who assures the doctor that she is dying, or suffering unspeakable torments, when the next hour she is ready to whirl till daylight in the dance, or fill her stomach with a melange as curious as it is hurtful.

In the investigation of all forms of disease, whether in children or in adults, we are generally too apt to jump at a conclusion, and make a diagnosis which would often be different were it prepared with less haste, and with the aid of other factors.

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