Before instituting any sort of therapy, a physician must be absolutely certain that the diagnosis is correct. This statement, although patently obvious, is unfortunately not always adhered to in actual practice. Incorrect therapy from any of a variety of causes, when initiated by the physician, can ignite the flame of an iatrogenic disaster. In those "halcyon" days of yesteryear, iatrogenic errors were often not of the same clinical significance, partly because there were fewer laboratory tests to rely on and partly because there were fewer diseases that could be treated effectively. The physician relied more on his or her sacerdotal influence than on the sanctity of the laboratory and pharmacy.
Following World War II, the explosion in medical technology provided the clinician with more powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Despite the overwhelming benefits of these advances, there was the negative aspect in that physicians often began
MORROW G. A Case of Non-Nondisease. Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(7):655. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140090017014
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: