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Views & Reviews The best medicine

Believe it or not

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:478
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner, Crossmaglen, County Armagh
  1. William.Farrell{at}

    Belief is an emotional state that is not susceptible to rational persuasion, said Spinoza. And, boy, could I sing a few bars of that—although my seminal experience was not at some frenzied religious festival with people slashing themselves theatrically or falling down speaking in tongues but in the cold light of the surgical ward.

    When I was a surgical intern a young man was admitted with a left upper quadrant mass. Ireland was a poor country then; advanced imaging was not available, so the diagnosis largely …

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