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January 27, 1999

Words in "In A Word"—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.Winker, MDIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorsIndividualAuthor


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

JAMA. 1999;281(4):322-323. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-4-jbk0127

In Reply: I commend Dr Henderson for reminding us of the leveling power of language. This may work for good or ill. I have argued that if we choose to abandon "doctor" and "patient," the result will be, on balance, a loss. I do not, however, feel that health care managers introduced their new terms with the intent to alter power structures. Rather, I believe that they are simply expressing the values that are inherent in corporate culture—values that may hold some limited virtue, but fall short of the nobility traditionally expressed in our profession.

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