The editorial entitled "Unskilled Tampering with Human Ailments,"...

The Herald

The editorial entitled "Unskilled Tampering with Human Ailments," which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association recently, and which was reprinted with brief comments in your paper, contained the latest device of this association for obtaining control of all efforts to prevent or cure disease. This device was presented in the following words: "The practice of medicine,—that is, the healing of the sick." In fine, the American Medical Association would identify these terms with each other, and put them into general use as equivalents, so that the injustice of giving a monopoly to medical practitioners would be less evident than it is at present. For this purpose the editorial in question was doubtless furnished to newspapers throughout the United States, including The Herald.

This editorial further contained a very interesting point in the following words: "Without a correct diagnosis, any form of treatment is guesswork." The evident purpose of this statement was to deny the efficacy of any curative method that is not based on physical diagnosis. It was particularly aimed at Christian Science, which was presently named. Logically, however, the effect of the statement was simply to admit the uncertainty of every curative system which is based on physical diagnosis, for diagnosis is uncertain under the most favorable conditions.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently contained an article on clinical medicine by a professor of physiology, in which he referred to the pathologic conditions discovered by post-mortem examination, as compared with the diagnoses made during life, in the cases of three thousand patients who had died at the Massachusetts General Hospital. These cases included twenty-eight diseases. In the article referred to the result of these comparisons of diagnoses with actual conditions was summed up as follows: "The average of mistaken diagnosis in these twenty-eight diseases was 46.5 per cent, or nearly one half, and this in one of the leading hospitals of the country, where all available aids to correct diagnosis ought to be had."

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