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August 2, 1884


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1884;III(5):121-124. doi:10.1001/jama.1884.02390540009001c

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Read in Section on Ophthalmology, Otology, etc., American Medical Association, May, 1884.

If a man were seen firing in the air expecting ducks to fall without looking if any are flying over, he would be brought to court on a quest of lunacy. Why should shotgun practice in the medical profession, similarly aimless, be less criminal evidence of a fool? Rifle practice in the healing art requires intelligence and skill. No surer proof of a quack can be asked than a prescription containing a great variety of romantic remedies. Quacks and nostrum venders can kill just as well at long range, and with a shotgun, as with an honest, scientific weapon. The honest, educated physician insists on a personal examination before risking an opinion or prescription. Diagnosis demands knowledge, to which there is no royal road.

The prime importance of intelligent diagnosis need not be argued. Narrow notions of specialties

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