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December 9, 1968

Special Privileges and The Physician

Author Affiliations

Buffalo General Hospital

JAMA. 1968;206(11):2525-2526. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150110073027

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To the Editor:—  In the excerpt from The Journal of April 8, 1911, reprinted in the July 29 issue (205: 271, 1968) W. R. Townsend makes the point that special privileges may be poor public relations for those who have them, and cites the physician's automobile. Now 57 years later we might well reread his warning not only in relation to the physician's car, but to the special license plates and other symbols which identify the car as belonging to a physician.An expensive late-model car may provoke envy, and when the car is driven in a discourteous or competitive way, resentment may be added to the envy. When the car is identified as belonging to a physician, both emotions may be directed toward the medical profession.Many physicians now drive mostly between home, office, and hospital parking lot, where identification, if needed, can be inconspicuous. Those who make house