Spring 2015

The Nothing-New Department

An excerpt from a 1924 valedictory address

“This is an age of science. With the multiplicity of new methods of diagnosis and treatment that are constantly being presented in the field of medicine, there is a decided tendency toward specialization, which may lead to certain evils. In employing laboratory methods of diagnosis, so much attention is given to the results obtained by instruments of precision that the patient is ignored.

“Here is where the old-time general practitioner excelled. He knew his patients intimately—he lived in their community—he realized their problems—he understood them—he took care of them. He did not depend upon involved laboratory tests or complicated instruments to make clear the diagnostic signs and symptoms. He was trained to observe the patient, to detect the conditions incident to the disease with his five unaided senses. He saw the case as a patient—and that is the attitude that should be restored today.”

David Thayer Gallison made these remarks at Tufts Medical School on June 16, 1924.

 

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