A complete history of medicine is more a history of errors and blunders than of success. Not long ago clinical medicine simulated, in many respects, tribal medicine of the dark jungles, which included the use of concoctions of herbs and many other substances and arbitrary medical rituals. As recently as 10 years ago, the management of subacute bacterial endocarditis was primitive and irrational, and this is still true for many diseases today. Surely, when the cure for malignant neoplasia is discovered, most of the present elaborate, expensive, yet inadequate, therapeutic procedures will seem to resemble closely the procedures of the tribal medicine man. The introduction of antibiotic drugs represented one of the greatest advancements in therapy ever achieved by man, an advancement which reduced even fairly recent therapy, control, and prevention of bacterial infections to errors, blunders, and expensive ineffective empiric procedures.
Whereas such objective reflection may be considered pessimistic,
BURCH GE. Carl Friedrich Gauss: A Genius Who Apparently Died of Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(4):824–834. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260160148015
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