What the Reduction in Tonsillectomies Teaches Us About Medicine

“What the Reduction in Tonsillectomies Teaches Us About Medicine.” By Aaron Carroll, The New York Times.

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was “Curious George Goes to the Hospital.” It told the story of a little monkey who swallowed a puzzle piece, needed an operation to get it out, and got ice cream to soothe his sore throat afterward. It seemed at the time to be a thinly veiled story about tonsillectomy. One of the driving forces behind the publication, I’m sure, was that so many children had their tonsils removed that it was helpful to have a book explaining to children how such a hospitalization would go.

Today you’d be hard pressed to find many normal children who have had their tonsils removed. That’s not because we cured tonsillitis. It’s because they started to practice evidence-based medicine.

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