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February 23, 1946


JAMA. 1946;130(8):509-517. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870080043016

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THE PUBLIC RELATIONS OF AMERICAN MEDICINE  Morris Fishbein, M.D.Editor, The Journal of the American Medical Association CHICAGOCenturies ago the profession of medicine was little concerned with public opinion. Medical knowledge was concealed in mystery. Latin was used by physicians in their discussions and in their prescriptions. Patients were never admitted into the inner sanctum. Medical books were written in a language difficult to understand. The nomenclature of disease, of drugs and of operative procedure was concocted to preserve secrecy. The medicine of those days had little to give for the public good compared to what modern medicine has to offer. Perhaps concealment of the limitations of medical knowledge was desirable for the maintenance of public respect. Often people admire most that of which they know least.Medicine was not, however, the only human undertaking that kept from people generally information of its activities. Governments have from time immemorial

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