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February 16, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(7):613-614. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520330055006

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It is strange that the hospitals and dispensaries of this country should be so shamelessly flooded with pseudo-charity patients, having no claim whatever to gratuitous service. It can be explained only on two hypotheses: First, the working of that innate trait of human nature which prompts to obtain something for nothing, and, second, the lack of good business discrimination on the part of the institutions whose benefits are thus abused.

From the point of view of the profession the abuse is a serious one. Many a struggling young city physician is deprived of the opportunity of earning a living because patients, who are amply able to pay ordinary fees, stultify themselves by accepting hospital alms. The value, too, of medical service, in the eyes of the laity, is much depreciated; as, indeed, is always the case when things can be obtained without effort or sacrifice. The individual who, at a

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