These diseases are common, and they usually come first to the knowledge of the physician. He first prescribes for them and sometimes studies them; frequently he makes a diagnosis.
Whether or not he appreciates their character, he has for them a large measure of responsibility which he can not escape. If he believes a given case has become a subject for surgery, he is responsible to the patient that the consultant shall be capable, that he has the skill in surgical technic to do successfully the several steps of an operation; and, far more important, that he has the knowledge of pathology that fits one to deal with unexpected surgical conditions. The physician may recall cases in which a surgeon has found such conditions and, never having considered their possibility, has blundered in a nonchalant sort of way, to the harm of the patient and the regret of all concerned.