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April 6, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(14):1184. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25220400036002g

Dr. F. M. Pottenger has recently recommended1 immediate percussion with a rubber tube, which, he believes, is a "method of greater precision" and possessing "superior advantages over methods in common use."

The usefulness of all methods of percussion depends, of course, largely on the individual who uses them; good as well as bad results can be obtained with almost any method. But a new clinical method must have both intrinsic as well as heuristic value, otherwise it constitutes merely an encumbrance to an already confusingly large diagnostic armamentarium.

If we analyze Pottenger's announcement we find that he really does not describe a method, but merely advocates the use of a rubber tube instead of the hammer. One naturally surmises, since nothing to the contrary is stated clearly, that the tube is to be used as one ordinarily uses the hammer or the finger, i. e., with a rebounding blow.