March 16, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(11):976-977. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970460066022

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THE DOCTOR IN RUSSIA  Following are excerpts from the article "The Soviet Doctor's Dilemma" by Mark G. Field, reproduced with permission from Problems of Communism, January-February, 1957Ed.Evidence supports the contention that, quantitatively, medical services available to the people of the Soviet Union have improved enormously. The number of hospital beds rose from 176,000 in 1913 to 247,000 in 1928; 791,000 in 1940; 1,011,000 in 1950; and 1,290,000 at the end of 1955. There were about 24,000 doctors in Russia before the Revolution; the official figure for 1955 is 334,000.Under the Soviet system, however, the expansion of medical institutions has been accompanied by the creation of a large bureaucratic apparatus to administer them and to keep the physician under state control. This has in turn affected medical organization, redefined the role and social position of the physician, and introduced certain non-medical elements into the patient-physician relationship. Contrary to the expectations raised by official propaganda, the Soviet patient

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