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April 24, 1937

LIBERTY OR LICENSE IN MEDICAL EDUCATION

JAMA. 1937;108(17):1436. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780170054018
Abstract

Freedom of action which contravenes the rights of others is no longer liberty. The state owes to its citizens the duty to protect them from ignorance and incompetence masquerading as medical skill. Health and life itself, our most treasured possessions, must be safeguarded, even at the expense of denying by statutory restrictions the freedom of every individual, trained or untrained, to practice medicine and certain other professions. If this is conceded, it follows that the state in the fulfilment of this obligation must satisfy itself beyond a shadow of doubt of the knowledge, skill and character of those whom it endorses and whose ability it guarantees. Such assurance is derived in part, but only in part, from licensing examinations. It rests in still greater degree on evaluation of the candidate's training and experience. Every state therefore has prescribed a certain minimum of preliminary and professional education as prerequisite to the

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