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May 22, 1967

Low Back Pain and Sciatica: A Plea for Better Care of the Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the divisions of orthopedic surgery, Children's Hospital and Hospital of the Good Samaritan, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1967;200(8):705-712. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120210091016

Although unquestionably dedicated to the advancement of medical science, our profession apparently has failed to respond to pressing social needs. This failure is manifest by strong external forces striving to change the basic nature of medical practice and to impose upon each physician a different and perhaps more burdensome way of life. Medicine in the broad concept is a service; the doctor is a public servant. Whether his prime interest be patient care, teaching, or research, his goal must be to improve the health of the people.

The profession's emphasis upon medical research has overtaxed and exceeded our ability to apply its abundant and significant advances. One of society's most urgent demands is the immediate application of these advances to the care of the people. This creates an enormous problem, for knowledge of inestimable value to the health of society has not been distilled to the degree that the practicing