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A Piece of My Mind
February 5, 2014

Matchbox Cars

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Health Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, and The Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Air Force Reserve, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2014;311(5):467-468. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.285727

My father belongs to a dying breed. A solo practitioner for nearly 40 years, he is part healer, part entrepreneur, full-time virtuoso. Sporting a Tom Selleck–style mustache and a sarcastic wit, he has peered through his slit lamp at countless eyes and brought increased comfort to the people behind them.

The self-employed physician straddles two worlds at once, responsible for tending to patients and keeping the lights on. Owning a practice means running a small business. There is no end to the shift and no hour to clock out. Long the backbone of American medicine, the independent physician has made a living by exploiting the labor force—his or her own two hands.

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