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The safety of laparotomy by modern surgical methods has so greatly increased the utility of the operation, that the time has arrived when it may be advantageously discussed as a means of diagnosis. Although the clinical differentiation of abdominal disease has been much advanced in later times, it is clearly conceded by those of the widest experience that many important conditions can only be approximately determined by all the other means at our disposal.
As if in mockery of my own views, only within the week have I made two autopsies upon my own patients which serve pointedly as an illustration. The one, a sufferer from obscure abdominal symptoms, died from a sudden hemorrhage caused by the rupture of a post-uterine vascular growth, which could have been diagnosticated in no other way than by exploratory section. The second, a chronic sufferer for months from severe local pains about the pylorus,
MARCY HO. EXPLORATORY LAPAROTOMY. Read in the Section on Surgery, at the Thirty-ninth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, May, 1888. JAMA. 1889;XII(4):115–116. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.02400810007001a
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