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The results of the surgical treatment of disease are palpable and often brilliant. The wonderful achievements and rapid advances of modern surgery are manifest, and its results can be built up into statistics that will not yield to skepticism's destroying touch. It is not so in medicine, more particularly in the therapeutics of chronic disease. The surgeon believes in the knife because he knows its power, recognizes its limitations, brings other powerful means to its aid, and proceeds in a way often clearly marked out in every detail, to the accomplishment of a definite purpose. The physician's skepticism is born of the obscurity of therapeutic results, faulty and narrow methods, a failure to recognize the limitations imposed by the nature and stage of the morbid process, and a too ready belief in the unaided power of drugs. Medical statistics are deceptive, and ultimate results come slowly and are conjectural. Our
VAN VALZAH WW. A SHORT STUDY IN THE THERAPEUTICS OF CHRONIC DISEASE. JAMA. 1892;XVIII(2):31–33. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411060001001
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