August 1968

On the Private and Public Views of the Physician

Arch Intern Med. 1968;122(2):179-180. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.00300070083017

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Now, perhaps more than ever in recent years, physicians are finding it increasingly difficult to reasonably separate their private opinions and interests from their public responsibilities and involvements. The physician's public role is to be actively concerned about the health of his patients, their families, and the communities in which they live; his private role is like that of any other citizen. What is of particular note at the present time is that the social and political issues that challenge all of us have a special relevance for the physician's public role. When he enunciates a position on these issues, is he speaking as a private individual or is he providing expert counsel because of his knowledge about the biology of man?

The major questions have been reviewed repeatedly: the war in Vietnam; the integration of the Negro and the impoverished individual into all arenas of our society; the proportionality

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