Volume 1, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


I. Introduction

A problem that is unique in modern medicine results from the application of the Biblical name “leprosy” to an ailment which has been defined only during the lifetime of many physicians still vigorously at work. In no other disease is nomenclature a major hazard for public health. In no other disease is nomenclature a more serious barrier to sound medical care than any difficulty in diagnosis or treatment. An analogy might be imagined if Addison's Disease, with its characteristic dark pigmentation of the skin, had by some caprice of medical history been named “the Black Death.” Even this analogy is extremely feeble: the Bible carries vastly more authority than Boccaccio!

My first realization of the horror associated with this word came in the year 1934. At a large medical center, I saw a woman who came for diagnosis of a nodular skin eruption.


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