Words To The Wise: Learning from the past

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 04 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:h
  1. W M Dixon
  1. retired occupational health physician in Buckinghamshire

    How many practising chest physicians can envisage the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis without antibiotics? Doctors in Africa and in India and the Far East may be faced with this problem within a few years–and the rest of the world soon afterwards. The emergence of resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis may soon outpace the development of new antibiotics.

    As recently as 1950 we treated thousands of patients with tuberculosis with prolonged bedrest and collapse therapy. My own artificial pneumothorax was induced at Guy's on VE Day in 1945 and abandoned five years later. Streptomycin or para-aminosalicylic …

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