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April 1929


Arch Surg. 1929;18(4):1531-1541. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1929.01140130625039

There is a tendency in medicine for one to rely more and more on laboratory data and mechanical means of diagnosis. Tests which sometimes have only the appearance of exactness are always welcomed, and one overlooks the fact that they carry with them added causes of error, since their interpretation is often difficult.

I am far from denying that these tests are of value; many of them are excellent and have offered results which the mere clinical examination could not have given. The tests must be applied with an accurate technic and discussed with the greatest objectivity, and in establishing the diagnosis, the results of the clinical examination must always be given final consideration. Thus it is not the tests themselves that call forth criticism, but the interpretations put on their results which sometimes lead clinicians astray, thereby discrediting an accurate, valuable piece of information.

The Wassermann reaction is among

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