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April 23, 1898


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1898;XXX(17):965-966. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440690025002e

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It is not long that "conservative medicine" and "conservative surgery" have been familiar terms to our ears; and yet by reason of their repetition it seems long. They would have sounded strangely in the mouth of a Watson or Erichsen, and were tentatively and diffidently spoken by a Flint and a Gross.

Every day has its surgical record which reads as if the word conservative had not been incorporated into the language of our art; and as if surgery meant only amputation, mutilation, disfigurement, and as if her chosen colaborer were that carpenter of prothetic art, the wooden-leg maker. If one had the power to glean the facts and give a clinical report of the needless mutilations of yesterday, done under the stress of supposed necessity, of fingers and toes, hands and feet, arms and legs, amputated because their salvation was doubtful or deemed impossible, it would be a ghastly

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