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The development of American gastroenterology

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
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  • Book Reviews
  • Law
  • Medicine
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Book Reviews epithets, attorneys remain shadows in the background throughout the text. He ignores, however, the legal profession's view of the malpractice phenomena as found in contemporary legal journals. Several problems hinder De Ville's analysis. He never explains how his causal factors interacted and contributed to the rise of malpractice suits, nor does he weigh their relative importance. While he shows what made suits likely, he never states what initiated the rash of litigation. Yet his work demonstrates the advantages of integrating surveys of case precedents, medical technological development and social change into an ambitious search for the origins of medical malpractice. Further fine-tuned research, perhaps the tedious search of original cases which he shuns, will help scholars to understand better how the complex interaction of professional, technological, legal, religious and societal interests affected the relationship between the medical profession and public in the legal arena. Carolyn G. Shapiro, Section of the History of Medicine, Yale University JOSEPH B. KIRSNER, The development of American gastroenterology, New York, Raven Press, 1990, pp. xiv, 466, illus., $77.50 (0-88167-603-9). When Dr Joseph Kirsner was born in 1909 the American Gastroenterological Association was already 12 years old. His distinguished gastroenterological career in the 58 years since his MD gives him unrivalled authority for relating the history of his speciality in the USA. However, we are overwhelmed with the largesse of this personal anthology. Much of what he describes, lists, details and tables lies outside the scope of this book. He begins with ancient humoral and metereological beliefs of health and European seventeenth-century medical concepts before we are led into American colonial and Indian medicine. There are then two chapters on the nineteenth and three on the twentieth centuries. Thirteen pages are devoted to the story of William Beaumont: Kirsner follows Cannon's hero worship o

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