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March 13, 1897


JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(11):493-498. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440110015002d

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CHAPTER II.—THE QUACK.  Beside the rupture and cataract operations there was also lithotomy, which was practiced almost exclusively by itinerant operators, the lithotomists (Steinschneider). It is wonderful that the very most difficult operations have always been abandoned to the mountebanks. The learned men were too proud to class themselves with those, by performing the same kind of operations. Therefore it happened that there were too few surgeons who possessed any comprehensive skill. This class of crude empirics, who like other mountebanks, advertised themselves, and as a rule collected a great number of lithotomic patients about them in the spring and fall, arose out of gray antiquity. Hippocrates would not submit to this operation, and subjected himself to others, probably because in his time they regarded the operation as too cruel. So the physicians in Alexandria were obliged to take the so-called Hippocratic oath, which recites: "I will operate upon no

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