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Excerpt from an article written by James Young, M.D., C.M. and published in NZMJ 1914;13:237–253.In the busy life of the practitioner, there is little time for excursions into the dead past, and it has not been the custom in this country to spend effort on that department of study called the History of Medicine, yet I am not certain that all time spent in the study of sciences contributing to equip the practitioner of medicine for his proper task should be limited to acquiring the views fashionable and current now to the exclusion of those that preceded them.I have lived long enough to see theory and practice which claimed almost universal acquiescence discarded as not only worthless, but fraught with disaster. I have seen hygienic innovations gain a firm footing, with pens of praise from all newspapers, mixed with depreciation of the conditions which were superseded, yet in a few years it was found that these innovations were productive of more disease and death than benefit to the communities that plumed themselves upon their advancement.Consideration of facts like these leads one to think that the past has not been so absurdly bad as men who have never studied it would have us believe and that light might be derived from its study which would keep us from many absurdities of view both in medical theory arid in regard to our own position in the scheme of things.It is not my purpose to illustrate by example the mistaken and disastrous suggestions which have been put and followed in recent years and which knowledge of history would have prevented. The history of syphilis alone could furnish material of this kind to occupy us all night. My aim is to put before you a few considerations regarding the fashionable opinion that this disease was introduced to Europe from the West Indies by the sailors of Columbus. In the middle of the 16th century this account of the origin of syphilis came into vogue; it has been discarded and it has come into vogue again several times since. The best recent work known to me upon the History of Medicine is very decided and clear in its favour.The statement of the Americanist's view I take from Iwan Bloch in his \"History of Skin Diseases During Modern Times,\" in Neuburger and Pagel's great \"Handbuch,\" published in 1905.

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Excerpt from an article written by James Young, M.D., C.M. and published in NZMJ 1914;13:237–253.In the busy life of the practitioner, there is little time for excursions into the dead past, and it has not been the custom in this country to spend effort on that department of study called the History of Medicine, yet I am not certain that all time spent in the study of sciences contributing to equip the practitioner of medicine for his proper task should be limited to acquiring the views fashionable and current now to the exclusion of those that preceded them.I have lived long enough to see theory and practice which claimed almost universal acquiescence discarded as not only worthless, but fraught with disaster. I have seen hygienic innovations gain a firm footing, with pens of praise from all newspapers, mixed with depreciation of the conditions which were superseded, yet in a few years it was found that these innovations were productive of more disease and death than benefit to the communities that plumed themselves upon their advancement.Consideration of facts like these leads one to think that the past has not been so absurdly bad as men who have never studied it would have us believe and that light might be derived from its study which would keep us from many absurdities of view both in medical theory arid in regard to our own position in the scheme of things.It is not my purpose to illustrate by example the mistaken and disastrous suggestions which have been put and followed in recent years and which knowledge of history would have prevented. The history of syphilis alone could furnish material of this kind to occupy us all night. My aim is to put before you a few considerations regarding the fashionable opinion that this disease was introduced to Europe from the West Indies by the sailors of Columbus. In the middle of the 16th century this account of the origin of syphilis came into vogue; it has been discarded and it has come into vogue again several times since. The best recent work known to me upon the History of Medicine is very decided and clear in its favour.The statement of the Americanist's view I take from Iwan Bloch in his \"History of Skin Diseases During Modern Times,\" in Neuburger and Pagel's great \"Handbuch,\" published in 1905.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Excerpt from an article written by James Young, M.D., C.M. and published in NZMJ 1914;13:237–253.In the busy life of the practitioner, there is little time for excursions into the dead past, and it has not been the custom in this country to spend effort on that department of study called the History of Medicine, yet I am not certain that all time spent in the study of sciences contributing to equip the practitioner of medicine for his proper task should be limited to acquiring the views fashionable and current now to the exclusion of those that preceded them.I have lived long enough to see theory and practice which claimed almost universal acquiescence discarded as not only worthless, but fraught with disaster. I have seen hygienic innovations gain a firm footing, with pens of praise from all newspapers, mixed with depreciation of the conditions which were superseded, yet in a few years it was found that these innovations were productive of more disease and death than benefit to the communities that plumed themselves upon their advancement.Consideration of facts like these leads one to think that the past has not been so absurdly bad as men who have never studied it would have us believe and that light might be derived from its study which would keep us from many absurdities of view both in medical theory arid in regard to our own position in the scheme of things.It is not my purpose to illustrate by example the mistaken and disastrous suggestions which have been put and followed in recent years and which knowledge of history would have prevented. The history of syphilis alone could furnish material of this kind to occupy us all night. My aim is to put before you a few considerations regarding the fashionable opinion that this disease was introduced to Europe from the West Indies by the sailors of Columbus. In the middle of the 16th century this account of the origin of syphilis came into vogue; it has been discarded and it has come into vogue again several times since. The best recent work known to me upon the History of Medicine is very decided and clear in its favour.The statement of the Americanist's view I take from Iwan Bloch in his \"History of Skin Diseases During Modern Times,\" in Neuburger and Pagel's great \"Handbuch,\" published in 1905.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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