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September 16, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLV(12):854-855. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02510120040005

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One of the first things taught to students of medicine in the clinical course is the art of percussion. Along with inspection, palpation and auscultation, percussion is a fundamental method of examination. Unfortunately, it is too often improperly taught, and even when the teaching is good it is surprising to find how few students perfect themselves in its application. Since the advent of laboratory methods, too, it is to be feared that less attention is paid to physical methods than is their due. Microscopic examinations of sputum and blood are extremely helpful, but the physician who relies on such methods alone and who does not practice assiduously the time-honored physical methods will make but a sorry mess of his work.

It matters but little which method of indirect percussion one uses—finger on finger, finger on plessimeter, or hammer on plessimeter; the important matter is to learn thoroughly one of the

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