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Symposium on Medical Education-NO 1
July 6, 1964

The Public's Concern for Professional Competence

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo

Director of manufacturing and member of the board of Hallmark Cards, Inc., president of the board of the Kansas City General Hospital and Medical Center Corporation, and chairman of the Hospital Planning Council for the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

JAMA. 1964;189(1):27-30. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070010033006

IT REALLY TOOK temerity to accept this assignment to discuss the public's concern for professional competence. I even looked up the word "temerity" in the dictionary. "Unreasonable contempt of danger" is the way Webster defines it— "flagrant boldness."

Then my mental vertigo leveled off and my perspective righted itself. I am a member of that public which has a right to be concerned with the professional competence of its physicians. In fact, the public's concern with the treatment of illness dates back as far as the written record.

The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, in relating the plight of the sick in ancient Babylonia, wrote: "They have no physicians, but when a man is ill, they lay him in the public square, and the passers-by come up to him, and if they have ever had his disease themselves, or have known anyone who has suffered from it, they give him advice,

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