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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 19, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(11):1448. doi:10.1001/jama.289.11.1448

We called attention some months ago1 to the emptiness of the excuse given by a class of busy practitioners for their failure to interest themselves in what concerns the general good of the medical profession, such as society work, medical legislation and the like. They are, forsooth, too busy with their practice. For such men, as well as for the busy physician who faithfully tries to fulfill his duties to the profession and feels all the responsibilities of his professional work, a reference to some things that have been accomplished for clinical medicine by physicians in active practice may prove an inspiration. The "busy" man is apt to think that he should be exempt from the obligation of trying to extend the bounds of medical knowledge. His occupation, he may claim, is a practical application of the discoveries of others. Active practice absorbs so much energy and time as to leave none for anything beyond his patients and their immediate needs, and certainly no opportunity for original work. It used to be the excuse of the medical college professor that he had to devote so much time to teaching and practice that he could not be expected to do any investigating. Now it is recognized that only he can teach well who is himself doing original work.