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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 9, 2004


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(22):2765. doi:10.1001/jama.291.22.2765-c

An interesting little social fact is remarked on editorially by the Australasian Medical Gazette, April 20. Australia is a lodge-ridden country to all appearances, and the medical profession is more or less sweated, to use the usual term; in fact, probably more so than most other countries, though the fees may not be so ridiculously small as those against which our German confrères have successfully rebelled. The Gazette remarks that it may be interesting to its readers as well as to the general public to know that the complaints that have been made from time to time in regard to sweating the profession by the well-to-do are not without foundation. It says it has been informed, on good authority, that one of the members of the federal ministry of Australia, whose wife is a wealthy woman, takes advantage of his membership in a friendly lodge to procure medical treatment for himself and family. This is not, it says, the first and only occasion in which a cabinet minister has availed himself of the services of a lodge doctor, but it suggests that one would think a federal minister would have had more self-respect and dignity than to get medical attendance in such a cheap way, because he happened to be a member of a friendly society. In this country we are somewhat accustomed to the fact that dispensary practice in large cities is utilized by a considerable number of well-to-do individuals. It is not an unknown experience for a dispensary physician to see his patients decked out in silks and diamonds or to find that they are extensive landlords and recipients of presumably large incomes. The remedy here, however, is patent; when the facts are known, the services are discontinued; but in a country where lodge practice is almost the rule, the public seems to lose self-respect and only endeavors to obtain the services of physicians at the cheapest possible rate. We mention this fact as something that we may possibly yet experience. Fortunately, we have not yet seen the Secretary of the Treasury, or of State, or any other cabinet minister, utilizing lodge membership for his medical attendance.

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