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Books, Journals, New Media
September 7, 2005


JAMA. 2005;294(9):1113-1117. doi:10.1001/jama.294.9.1113-b

This book describes the private practice of Dr Richard Cabot, a Boston physician and academician of the early 20th century. Much of the background draws on the author’s review of Cabot’s patient records.

Private Practice is not a biography and is more focused on sociology than history. The author writes, “My concern is with the physician’s personal authority in individual exchanges with patients.” Doctor-patient relationships of this period (1900-1915) were mostly based in homes and offices, where physicians had limited capabilities. Advances in the “technical pursuit of disease” occurred in the hospital (eg, operating rooms, radiology suites, clinical laboratories) and led to more medical power for physicians. Crenner writes, “The focus of this book is . . . on the individual relationships constructed in private practice between Richard Cabot and his patients, relationships that would come to support a highly technical and narrowly defined expression of medical expertise in the twentieth century.”

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