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November 1981

Then and Now

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Surgical Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.

Arch Surg. 1981;116(11):1367-1372. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380230003001

Changes in the affairs of men are little perceived on a day-to-day basis; yet, over a longer period, the differences are as clear-cut as is the eager youth of 21 compared to the veteran of 61. Reflections on the passing scene with special emphasis on the medical world in general and surgery in particular during the past 40 years may allow some understanding of the significance of this evolution in order to gain perspective on the present and permit speculation concerning the future.

THE COLLEGE GRADUATE–1941  An idyllic era of domestic peace and increasing prosperity flowed gently forward for the college class of 1941. Idealism based on unsophistication, provinciality, and political naiveté contrasts with today's knowledgeable, traveled, and politically sophisticated young people.Wait a minute! Perhaps my optimism for the collegian of today should be more selective. In April of this year, the Washington Post reported that 85% of 3,000

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