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July 3, 1967

The Patient as a "Whole Man"

Author Affiliations

Long Beach, Calif

JAMA. 1967;201(1):72. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130010098038

There has been a great deal of recent publicity in both the lay press and in scientific periodicals about the changing patterns of the practice of medicine. The medical profession has been accused of being "impersonal" and it is a current fad to denounce the physician for "not taking a more personal interest in the patient." Many of these criticisms emanate from biased sources, of course, and not infrequently the critic is unaware of the fundamental changes in diagnosis and therapy. I would appreciate comments from your consultants in the form of a candid discussion of what the physician's concept of his professional obligations to his patients should be. Have the salutary effects of medical progress been accompanied by an unfortunate erosion of the personal identity of the patient? What do we mean by the consideration of the patient as a whole man?