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The color illustration on the cover of this week's Journal could easily pass for the work of a contemporary surrealist. Shadowy figures in the spacious background, colonnaded halls, the weird assortment of tools, the incense-bearing angel—all blend into a dream-like incongruous arrangement so characteristic of surrealist art. Only the title betrays the picture's "datedness." No modern painter is likely to name his masterpiece "The Physician as Angel." In an age which no longer believes in angels and is fast losing its faith in doctors the juxtaposition of the two does not make much sense.
Or does it? Even if grudgingly conceding to the cynic that much of the angelic has rubbed off the doctor's face, we cannot deny that angel and doctor still have much in common. Both belong to highly specialized professional bodies often involved in similar activities. We have guardian angels concerned with prophylaxis, guiding angels engaged in
PHYSICIAN AS ANGEL. JAMA. 1967;200(4):328-329. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120170100023