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Personal Care in an Impersonal Society

Michael J. Halberstam, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1975;135(7):929-932. doi:10.1001/archinte.1975.00330070051008.
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Paraphrasing Clemenceau, people have said that medical care is too important to be left to physicians, and this is certainly true. It is also true, however, for the law, architecture, and legal planning. They are all too important to be left only to the professionals. When we apply that concept of nonprofessionals to the debate about delivery of medical care, what do we really mean? I suspect we would find that the debate exists in sort of an intellectual isolation unit. If you look through the programs of symposia like this or do a content analysis of the Journal of Medical Education, you find that certain "nonhealth" groups have indeed been admitted to the discussion about medical care in the United States. There are economists by the dozens, politicians by the score, consumers by the handful, and private practitioners by the token (I am that token today).

However, we do


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