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June 1949


Arch Surg. 1949;58(6):875-887. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1949.01240030886014

FOR years it was traditional never to give iodine to a patient having exophthalmic goiter and always to drain in a case of ruptured appendicitis with peritonitis. Universally, patients were confined to their beds for one or more weeks after operation. Spinal anesthesia was considered a dangerous anesthetic, to be used only in rare instances. Thousands of yards of gauze and adhesive tape were piled on the patients' abdominal incisions in the hope of protecting the incision from contamination and of strengthening the wound. My entire thirteen minutes could be devoted to a discussion of traditional ideas in surgery whose abandonment years ago might have saved thousands of lives which were unnecessarily sacrificed to the god of tradition. Tradition is the enemy of progress. So I believe that we have come to a new era in medical writing. In this busy world we have little time to read long medical