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March 2, 1963

A Physician's Duty

JAMA. 1963;183(9):808. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700090128035

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To the Editor:  —At the present time when the overriding importance of the contributions of basic science in furthering the understanding of disease is being recognized clearly by so many, the cry is often heard that such emphasis on science will destroy the humanitarian principles of medicine. Those who recognize this alleged danger appear to believe firmly and honestly that the acquisition of new knowledge leading to a better understanding crowds out all that has gone before, whether it be in the realm of science or humanity. Thus, new understanding of disease, based on knowledge gained in the current revolution in biology, cannot help but gnaw away at the humanitarian aspects of medicine to render the physician a "scientific" automaton devoted to his "experiments" but not to the care of his patients.The proponents of this view are many and vocal, moreover they voice their objections in the form of

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