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Medical Writings |

On First Looking into Cabot's Differential Diagnosis

Theodore B. Schwartz, MD
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Rush Medical College; Chicago, IL 60612-3864 Note: The title of this essay is a paraphrase of the title of a poem by John Keats, “On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.” Keats's title has lingered in my memory since my high school days, when I found that if a comma were inserted after the second word, it could be looked upon as a British version of “Casey at the Bat.” Acknowledgment: The author thanks Genevieve Schwartz for editorial assistance and support. Requests for Reprints: Theodore B. Schwartz, MD, 200 Lee Street, Evanston, IL 60202.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(5):411-414. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-128-5-199803010-00018
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In contrast to those who endure the woes engendered by present-day strictures and retrenchments, physicians at the turn of the century should have been a happy lot. Totally autonomous, they were present at the creation of modern, scientific medicine and had readily available a wealth of reliable sources of contemporary medical knowledge. Foremost among these was Osler's monumental Principles and Practice of Medicine [1], but other respectable texts, such as Anders's Practice of Medicine [2], also served well. However, the neophyte needed to select his books with care. He or she (usually he) would have done well not to become entrapped by such doctrinaire authors as Charles E. de M. Sajous, whose massive two-volume work, The Internal Secretions and the Principles of Medicine [34], insisted on the centrality of the adrenal system in the development of all human ills.

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