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An article presented as a presidential address usually opens up a wide field for a congratulatory review of the progress of medicine in the few years immediately preceding the date at which it is read, and for painting pictures of a roseate hue of the future possibilities of surgery and gynecology. Any departure from this routine custom may be frowned upon and denounced as "not regular," but men are generally profited more by the mistakes of themselves and their friends than by their successes. A mistake made impresses an honest student of medicine and surgery—as it does workers in all other branches of life—to the extent that the same error is not likely to be committed again. The lesson has been too deeply impressed to be readily forgotten.
An optimist is as dangerous in medicine as a pessimist, if not more so. The optimist, always looking for the good,
HAPPEL TJ. "QUO VADIS?". JAMA. 1899;XXXII(6):271–275. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.92450330001001
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