PERHAPS I was too naive. Many years ago, I decided to become a physician because I considered it—and still do—a calling. My childhood role models, the physicians who helped me recover from numerous bouts of pharyngitis, seemed to be genuinely interested in me and my health. I could not wait to join a group of professionals whose primary mission was healing and comforting the sick. By and large, physicians appeared to be a relatively homogeneous group of dedicated people, with noble goals. But in the past several years, relative homogeneity seems to be giving way to heterogeneity in professional ideals. Indeed, at times it seems the only commonality among some physicians is their professional degree. Perhaps heterogeneity in professional ideals has been there all along, and the current business of medicine is just unmasking it.
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