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The 20-20 vision of hindsight and the changed but clearer view we get through the retrospectoscope make the interpretation of history difficult. When any new idea becomes incorporated into the body of medical knowledge it becomes next to impossible to look back from a distance at things as they were before such ideas prevailed. It all looks so easy and so natural. We enjoy today what we consider our modern scientific and medical superiority, forgetting that history does not contain any examples of a period which was not full of what we know later were the most egregious errors. We have a hard time wondering how people could have been so stupid. The one conclusion a sensible person can reach is that the errors and confusion of our age, our dogmas, our sacred cows, will look pretty silly in the future.
Drake approached the medical problems of his day as
Bean WB. A Practical Treatise On The History, Prevention, and Treatment of Epidemic Cholera Designed Both for the Profession and the People. Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(1):164–165. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620070166024
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