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A Lifetime of Quantum Leaps in Medicine: 1935 to 1989

Freddy Homburger, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(3):431-433. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440030118033.
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NOWADAYS when I read scientific literature, I often feel humiliated and ignorant and conclude that I am hopelessly left behind by a rapidly moving science and its esoteric terminology, understandable only to the initiated, and for me, the old physician, akin to Chinese. Then I think back to the good old days when we were dealing with patients and their diseases, when it was not necessary to understand what was going on at the molecular level, and when it was sufficient to know anatomy, pathology, and physical diagnosis, to have an idea of the interpretation of electrocardiograms, and to be able to read a roentgenogram. The choice of really effective drugs was limited and the diseases that could not be significantly influenced by our ministrations were numerous.

As I think back to the early days of my introduction to medicine in Geneva, in my native Switzerland, and briefly in Vienna,


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