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December 2, 1893


JAMA. 1893;XXI(23):860. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420750030006

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The subdivision of practical medical work in our large cities, and to a certain extent, also, in smaller communities, into departments that engage the special attention of members of the profession is not merely a result of the ever-widening field of medical knowledge, which of itself makes it impossible for any one man to master it fully, but points also to a sadder truth that should not be forgotten, namely, that medical skill in each department is yet so imperfect as to[ill]demand the undivided skill of a devotee. This recognition of the advantages of special expertness is but a recent development in modern medicine, though once fully developed in ancient Egypt. Thirty-five years ago there were even no ophthalmologists, the enormous work now performed by these specialists being but imperfectly done by the general surgeons. To-day, the general practitioner or surgeon may at times measure a refraction or determine the

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