Medicine: The Silent Stone

Anyone who argues that medicine is an inexact science would have found proof positive at the American Medical Association's convention last week at Miami Beach. Nowhere was a conflict of viewpoints more obvious than in the lengthy debate over what to do about gallstones.

Gall-bladder disease is becoming more common as the proportion of oldsters in the population increases. The usual form is cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), resulting from the formation of stones in the gall bladder. Sometimes, the stones immediately signal their presence by causing sharp pain. In such cases, surgery is performed promptly. But many gallstones lie dormant...

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