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June 12, 1937

PROFESSIONAL FREEDOM AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

JAMA. 1937;108(24):2011-2013. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780240003002
Abstract

In every age and in every cultural order, the doctor has existed and maintained himself in spite of war, catastrophes and revolution. He lived and practiced his art during the decline and fall or even the complete annihilation of previously existing states of civilization. From remote times the doctor has enjoyed complete professional freedom and has thereby assumed great social responsibility.

Through the centuries, fundamental discoveries made by practicing physicians have changed the whole current of life. Vaccination against smallpox, the discovery of the bacterial causes of disease, the development of the stethoscope, the cystoscope and other instruments of precision and the x-rays, the discovery of the specific effects of certain medicaments, such as vitamin therapy in deficiency diseases, liver therapy in anemias, and insulin in diabetes, have all given to many human beings increased years of greater usefulness. These discoveries were made by physicians without any monetary remuneration or

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