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October 4, 1965

A Laboratory Guide to Clinical Diagnosis

JAMA. 1965;194(1):101. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090140109049

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While today, for better or worse, clinical medicine depends on laboratory examination, yet in the jungle of laboratory tests even the astute clinician may wander and the neophyte easily gets lost. Eastham and Pollard have provided a compass to guide both the clinician and the pathologist.

The authors avoid the "shot gun" approach sometimes found in this country, wherein the attending physician first sharpens a pencil, then checks virtually every test on the laboratory requisition form, and, finally, when the results are in, starts to consider what the patient might actually have. Instead, this book assumes preliminary clinical diagnosis and then indicates what laboratory tests can fruitfully be applied. The authors indicate five degrees of significance for laboratory procedures. Some tests are "diagnostic," or, more modestly stated, most strongly suggestive. Specific identification of microorganisms, for example, falls into this category. Other tests, such as transaminase determinations, serve to support a

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