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August 2, 1884

LIMITATIONS OF PATHOGNOMONIC SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.

JAMA. 1884;III(5):116-120. doi:10.1001/jama.1884.02390540004001a

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Abstract

Read in the Section on Practice of Medicine and Materia Medica of American Medical Association, May, 1884.

It has been the writer's intention to bring into this short paper, the results of observations extending over some time concerning certain limitations which must be placed upon signs which are considered, when present in certain states, more or less pathognomonic of a definite morbid condition. The word pathognomonic is not used in a strict sense, but somewhat as the word diagnostic. The writer has so frequently witnessed erroneous opinions as to the nature of disease, arising from the reception of some one sign as absolutely determining, that he has been impelled to write this article to impress more forcibly the necessity of studying all the phenomena present in cases of disease. Those diagnoses which are rightly denominated snap, may at times be brilliant, but he who indulges in them frequently, no matter

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