Jerome M. Lynch
1917 to 1919
It is two years since last we met, and in that time great changes have taken place. Many of us have been in the service of our country, either here or overseas. During this period there was little opportunity for original work in our special line; but now that the war is over and peace is in the offing, it behooves us to make up for lost time, and to make every endeavor to bring about a better understanding of diseases of the alimentary canal.
It is necessary to educate the public, and this can be done only if the physician himself is a master of his subject. Specialization is important, but it is essential that one have a comprehensive sight, since he of narrow caliber is a dangerous man. The man of liberal training is a cosmopolite; the other a provincial.
It is impossible to study the alimentary canal segmentally, since all its parts are so closely related and correlated that one is apt to misinterpret symptoms by confining his interest to one segment. There is no more important problem in connection with the subject of disease than the proper interpretation of symptoms; and it is of the first importance that one should know embryology, anatomy, physiology and the other fundamentals for such interpretation.
Since, embryologically, the alimentary canal is divided into a fore and a hind gut, and since the hind gut includes about thirty inches of the ileum, which is capable of taking on the function of the colon, it is self-evident that this whole segment should be included in our special work.