Medicine: Better Leave Them In

Doctors used to snip out tonsils right & left. They thought that the tonsils did no good, that large tonsils were always infected, that infected tonsils could cause all manner of serious diseases, so they were "better out." The operation was supposed to be so trivial that any physician could do it in his office. The result, for a generation or so, was "the massacre of the tonsil."*

Doctors know better nowadays, says Dr. Francis L. Lederer of the University of Illinois, but too many tonsils are still being snipped. The first thing to remember, he writes in Postgraduate Medicine,...

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