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November 21, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(21):1763-1767. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410210019001f

The rôle of image-breaker is always an ungrateful one, and especially so in therapeusis. In the face of the essential problem and crux of medical endeavor, positive claims have an authority and a charm that give them every advantage over merely negative criticism. Yet the iconoclast is as necessary as the builder, and sometimes even more so. A franker and freer discussion, less reticence as to failures, and a more judicial attitude toward successes would save much misconception and much useless labor and suffering. An extramedical observer, studying the files of our professional journals, would conclude that there are few if any incurable affections, and that the chief difficulty of the modern therapeutist is the selection of one among the many curative measures that are recommended. How far the facts are in accord with this each one of us can judge from our own experience.

These reflections crowd in on

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