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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 3, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(17):2086. doi:10.1001/jama.295.17.2086

Whether it is because gold has depreciated in value, owing to the increase in its production, or whether it is because of good times resulting from good crops and other good things that tend to prosperity, we do not know, and it does not matter; but, whatever the cause, the prices of all the necessities and luxuries of life—except a few articles whose cost of production has lessened by improved machinery—have enormously increased during the last few years. This is common knowledge. Likewise it is well known that the shoemaker, the bricklayer, the carpenter and artisans of all kinds, as well as the hod-carrier and the day laborer, are receiving from 25 to 100 per cent. higher wages than they did ten or fifteen years ago. The lawyer is not hesitating to charge for preparing a brief double what he charged ten years ago—and he gets it. Even the preachers' salaries are better than they used to be. The doctor is the only breadwinner whose fees have remained stationary. Where fifty cents for office consultation and a dollar for a visit were the average fees, say, fifteen years ago, the same high remuneration still prevails. This is especially true in smaller towns. In the larger cities the better men and the specialists have not hesitated to charge more as the incomes of their patients increased, but the fees of the average practitioners remain the same. Of course, no one is to blame but those who have been contented to put up with these absurd conditions; it is the doctor’s, and not the patient's, fault. It is the same old story; if we do not look after our own interests we can not expect others to do it for us.

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