Internists today are discomforted by uncertainty of identity, governmental interference with practice, total responsibility for patients' health, and by waning of faith in science. As personal "caring" physicians, internists are secure in primary care but should maintain their distinctive scholarly leadership as master clinicians and consultants. Humanism and science are one in patient care. Future practice patterns depend on physicians themselves participating in policy decisions for inevitable controls and rationing of government financed health services. The public must understand that good health depends not only on physicians but also on a better society and what people are willing to do for themselves. Western culture has been shaken by the cruel paradoxes of progress and technology. But, human choice not science is at fault, and only wisdom in the use of science will save us.
(Arch Intern Med 137:226-229, 1977)