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July 7, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(1):36. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460270044013

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The lay press in Great Britain and in this country has been recently handling the old theme whether a physician has the right to refuse to answer calls. A London coroner's jury, it seems, denounced as inhuman the action of some doctors in refusing to attend a case, and the papers followed its lead. A prominent American journal admits the legal right of the physician to refuse his services, but says that more is expected from him than from the ordinary tradesman, and that we look for some spirit of self-sacrifice from the medical profession. The doctor, according to popular notions, must give his services wherever wanted and at all times, without regard to his own personal comfort or welfare, and his refusal is counted as inhumanity. This is a satisfying sort of self-righteousness, easily assumed, that disposes of other people's rights so freely. A physician has as good a

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