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Why do we trust surgeons? After all, allowing strangers to work on our unconscious bodies with knives requires an enormous leap of faith. How have we come to believe that surgeons will act in the best interests of our health, rather than in the best interests of their wallets?
This unconventional history of surgery charts the early twentieth century transformation of public attitudes from ‘buyer beware’ to ‘doctor knows best,’ as surgeons invented traditions appropriate for gentlemanly, and occasionally ladylike, but above all trustworthy, experts.
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