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[Perspectives] The junior doctor’s tale

“His greatest difficulty is the admission of cases. Towards the end of the week on duty, he has to be very sparing, and to endure some hard words from patients who he is unable to admit. Perchance one rejected case is more dangerously ill than he thinks, and ends badly out of doors. There is an inquest, or an article in a daily paper; and then the young house-surgeon is placed in a most unenviable position, and is absolutely unable to defend himself against temporary public obloquy, though he has only done his duty to the best of his ability.” Though, as The BMJ reported, for “the modern house surgeon” of 1881 “his office, at the least, is respected”.