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May 25, 1895


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1895;XXIV(21):779-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430210001001

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A retrospective examination of surgical literature since the advent of anesthesia does much to make the thinking student wonder whether the longevity of the human family has been conserved, or its physical welfare materially enhanced by modern surgery. That the operating room has been robbed of its terrors by ether and chloroform is conceded. That the clinical chart no longer presents the erratical markings of the clinical thermometer as influenced by a body aflame with the products of infection, ignorantly permitted to obtain a foothold in the human economy, is also admitted—but has not our feeling of safety, engendered by our acknowledged perfection in surgical detail, opened a wide field of surgical speculation and experiment which serves rather to enrich the surgeon than to minimize disease and prolong life. In my humble opinion the segregation of our professional work is in a large degree responsible for much of the opprobrium

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