Urology as a Specialty*

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A little over twenty years ago, Hugh Cabot, in his presidential address before the American Urological Association, used the topic, “Is Urology Entitled to be Regarded as a Specialty?” He defined very clearly the meaning of the word specialty: “A department of medicine becomes a specialty when our knowledge of the diseases of this department becomes so far developed that it requires the whole time of any individual to keep abreast of the accumulating knowledge and still have time to devote to study of the problems presented.” During the span of our own medical life, the knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the genito-urinary tract has emerged from a comparatively obscure field into the realm of an almost exact science, through the efforts of those devoting their entire time to this special field of endeavor.

But without the rapid growth and development of other sciences, especially of chemistry and physics, and without the ingenious inventions and improvement in mechanical technology which has made our modern world what it is, urology would have gone little beyond the narrow limits which characterized the functions of the wandering lithotomists and uroscopists of olden times.

Diseases of the genito-urinary tract are not new. We have simply found ways of recognizing and distinguishing them. The Hindus are said to have “cut for stone” as early as 600 B. C. Lithotomists were mentioned by Hammurabi, and Hippocrates in his famous code on medical ethics, mentioned that only a trained lithotomist should “cut for stone.”



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