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July 1988


Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(7):716. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150070030018

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The utilization of highly technical equipment to diagnose and treat serious medical illnesses has been one of themajor advances in modern medicine. Sophisticated procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomographic scanning, without any discomfort to the patient, uncover many of the mysteries of the human body previously unavailable to the inquiring and probing physician.

However, for most practicing pediatricians, the main diagnostic instruments remain relatively simple—an otoscope, an ophthalmoscope, and a stethoscope.

The otoscope is the workhorse of the group. It is the instrument that helps diagnose the frequent ills of children, eg, tonsillitis and otitis media. It travels where other less-adventurous scopes (except for the sigmoidoscope) fear to tread. The otoscope "gets its hands dirty" with cerumen and exudate; it is a blue-collar instrument.

Although I respect and admire it, I have never felt very close to the ophthalmoscope. When examining infants I gain very little information

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