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September 11, 1909


JAMA. 1909;LIII(11):872-873. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02550110046005

Probably nothing is more fatal to real progress than a mistaken idea that such progress has already been accomplished. Such assumptions are too common. For instance, there is a very general impression that in the past twenty-five years we have greatly reduced the death rate among infants. Such statistics as are available, however, apparently indicate that whatever advance has been made in lessening infant mortality is due chiefly to the improvement in general living conditions. Dr. Stowell,1 visiting physician to the New York City Children's Hospital and Schools, in a review of mortality tables for recent years, presents some facts that are rather startling, considering the usual impressions as to our great advance in the prophylaxis of infants' diseases.

The death rate of infants under one year per thousand living, as given by Dr. Stowell, shows very little change in the last thirty years in nearly all the civilized