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March 1974

Hamilton Bailey's Emergency Surgery.

Author Affiliations

Newton Lower Falls, Mass

Arch Intern Med. 1974;133(3):506. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320150180034

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The first edition of this venerated work appeared in relatively placid 1930 and the fifth during the maelstrom of World War II. The interval had witnessed exciting advances in many aspects of emergency surgery, all painstakingly—one might even say lovingly—detailed by Bailey. In the earlier prefaces, he stakes his claim: "When to operate, when not to operate, and how to operate under emergency conditions is the theme of this work. While writing it, I pictured a patient stricken with an urgent surgical condition and a comparatively isolated surgeon called upon to carry out appropriate treatment." It was perhaps inevitable that the passage of time should make it more difficult for his successors to accomplish this worthy task. In any event, confusion of purpose and uncertainty as to audience seem to mar the present work, which is a multi-authored tome somewhat inaccurately labeled the "ninth" edition.

It is hard to imagine

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