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In the treatment of all chronic diseases of from six months' to as many years' duration, the prognosis, or what we are able to do, depends upon many factors. The first, as a rule, is the duration; the second is if the case is functional; the third, if organic, it is incurable. This not only applies to the ears but to the lungs, liver, kidneys, eyes and brain.
Can we improve them? We can, if the disease is functional and not organic. When the patient with organic disease of the lungs applies, not for a cure, but for relief, we frequently are able to diminish the cough and expectoration, build up the general health, and by changing the habits and climate, improve the case. So also with the liver, kidneys and brain. In the case of the eye, sometimes by a skillful and delicate treatment or an operation we are
TURNBULL L. WHAT THE PATIENT EXPECTS, AND WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO, IN CHRONIC CATARRH OF THE TYMPANUM OR MIDDLE EAR, WITH DEAFNESS. JAMA. 1895;XXV(17):696–698. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430430008002
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