If a patient in a hospital ward should have pneumonia you would not think of filling up the other beds in that ward with members of the patient's family who may be going to come down with pneumonia. But when one phthisical patient applies for treatment at any up-to-date dispensary it is obviously the duty of the dispensary to send for the rest of the family exposed to infection and have them examined, and, if need be, treated. One case of rickets is the symptom of more rickets in that family, present or to come—the single rachitic seen at the dispensary is but a single symptom of the rachitic forces at home. Physicians never like to treat symptoms; they want to get down to the roots of things. One case of lead-poisoning means more cases in that shop; one case of vulvovaginitis means a nest of them in
CABOT RC. OUT-PATIENT WORK: THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST NEGLECTED PART OF MEDICAL SERVICE. JAMA. 1912;LIX(19):1688–1689. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270110102010
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