January 31, 1972

The Distribution of Physicians

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and the Cincinnati General Hospital.

JAMA. 1972;219(5):606-607. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190310036009

It should be obvious that physicians congregate, just as other people, in large cities "because that's where the money is," as Willie Sutton is reputed to have responded when asked why he persisted in robbing banks. A financial taint, if taint it be, also is one characteristic of the majority of medicine's clientele.

No one doubts that business practices dominate the American scene. It hardly matters how one views these practices, they are not consistent with the sacred calling to serve all and be charitable in judging human frailty. A fact of life is that today's medicine is practiced in an industrial world, and the pressure of the system brings to the physician a consciousness of his own pecuniary interests. In a sense this makes him something of a man of business, and it becomes rather easy for him to earn a good living, yielding to its practices.

Money as