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JAMA Revisited
March 28, 2017

Notification of Infectious Diseases

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2017 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA. 2017;317(12):1280. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0641

Originally Published March 26, 1892 | JAMA. 1892;1813:399.

The public has so long been accustomed to the good-nature of physicians, and has so long expected from them work without compensation, that perhaps it is not surprising that they fail to recognize the financial rights of the medical man in the matter of notification of infectious diseases.

The somewhat peculiar doctrine has recently been promulgated by the lay press of Chicago, that the physicians of Illinois, being licensed by the State, are under obligations to the State, and the State has the right to demand of them certain things, as for instance the report of births and deaths, and the notification of infectious diseases, of course without compensation. If this right is inherent in the State, there is no reason why it should stop at these services. It may equally well require the services of physicians as experts in its courts, with no other compensation than a witness fee, or might compel them to attend gratuitously such indigent poor as might be certified to them by certain officers. The question at issue is not the smallness of the services, but the principle. The State has certainly no right to demand the services of physicians, any more than those of any other class of the community, without just compensation.