The bare statement in a laboratory report that the sputum does not contain tubercle bacilli gives the physician comparatively little help in arriving at a diagnosis, and may be absolutely misleading. It is important that he should have in addition some idea of the character of the sputum submitted by the patient. A dozen negative reports from mouth and throat specimens would be of less value to him than one report on a specimen that came from the lungs. The designation of the sputum as "mucoid" or "purulent" would be a helpful addition to the ordinary report, but a somewhat more detailed description of the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the specimen would be of still greater value.
In a previous communication,1 a method of making reports was suggested, by the use of which, it was declared, the physician would be informed with some degree of certainty whether the
LAIRD AT. THE NEED FOR DETAILED SPUTUM REPORTS: SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(5):427. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570310047015
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