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August 23, 1947


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1947;134(17):1478-1479. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.72880340004007

Whenever a man sits down in a doctor's office both he and the doctor have the right to ask each other the question "What is your philosophy of the universe?" For unless his philosophy is right the doctor cannot be sure that his bill will be paid, and the patient cannot be sure that he will live to have a bill to pay. Before an architect builds a house he wants to know who is to live in it, and before a doctor treats a patient he ought to know whether he is treating a man or an animal.

Because the physician believes in the dignity of man he will never ask himself whether the life before him is valuable but rather will profess that it is sacred, and sacred means inviolable, because God alone is its Giver. Just as in the political order the physician will say that the

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