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April 23, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXX(17):956-958. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440690016002a

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From a certain class of spinal symptoms and nervous manifestations following and believed to be typical of railway accidents, is evolved the use of the term "railway spine." The pathologic lesion is not essentially different from similar lesions occurring under other circumstances and conditions, and the term may not be a happy one.

The element of fear enters largely into these histories. There is a distinct appeal to the mental and emotional, and with a certain similarity in clinical histories and results they have been, and are by many at least, believed to be peculiar to railway collisions; so we are justified, as railway surgeons, lawyers and neurologists, in giving them special consideration. We are, perhaps, familiar with those interesting cases following collisions, called often "spinal concussion," in which there is no evidence of a pathologic or anatomic lesion, by any clinical or scientific tests at our command, but in

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