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February 25, 1939

HIPPOCRATIC LETTERS ON THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE PROFESSION OF MEDICINE

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich.

JAMA. 1939;112(8):763-764. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800080083028

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  Apropos of the present controversies on state medicine and the hiring of physicians on the same basis as workmen, it seems timely to bring to mind the following little episode. The "Counsil and Citizens of Abdera" wrote to Hippocrates to come to their city and treat the ailing Democretus, their most illustrious citizen, promising him "all the glory, learning and gold" their city could afford. The fact that a whole city should be so greatly concerned over the health of one citizen impressed Hippocrates, and he agreed to come. That the Abderites should think, however, that they could hire the services of a physician for a stipulated sum of money, the same as of any other artisan, he considered an insult. So, he even asked his "guest-friend" Philopoemen for hospitality, during his stay in Abdera, "not wanting to trouble a city already so disturbed," with his private

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