[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 31, 1976

Physician First, Surgeon Second

Author Affiliations

Brookings, SD

JAMA. 1976;235(22):2391. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260480013017

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


To the Editor.—  "Clearly, even though at the moment the surgeon appears to have the upper hand, the time has not yet come for the physician to throw in the sponge" (235:637, 1976).Being a young board-certified surgeon and a card-carrying, dues-paying colleague (pardon the expression) in the American Medical Association, I was puzzled to read that the only organized group representing all MDs distinguishes between physicians and surgeons. During residency, I was trained to be a physician who was specializing in general surgery.Maybe your editors need exsurgeons as proofreaders to catch such terminology in an otherwise excellent editorial; I'm sure that the word "physician" was used to mean internist, family practitioner, or members of similar specialties. Your slip, though, reminds me of the old vaudeville line—"That was no lady; that was my wife!"