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February 19, 1968

Whatever Became of That Old-Fashioned Patient?

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Health Service, American Medical Association, Chicago. Dr. Hudson is immediate past president of the American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1968;203(8):585-587. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140080045011

A question frequently asked somewhat wistfully is, "Whatever became of the old-fashioned doctor?" By the tone of the question, the impression is left that the old-fashioned doctor is no more and that he has been succeeded by someone or something that, to a significant degree, is inferior.

In response to these implications of "failure" on the doctors' part, I would like to turn the question around and ask, "Whatever became of the oldfashioned patient?"

Actually, there still are among us today many "old-fashioned" doctors and many "old-fashioned" patients. But the pertinent fact is that the conditions of medical practice have changed, and this situation has modified the actions of both patients and doctors.

It is fashionable today to speak of people or organizations as projecting an image. The doctors are said to worry about their image. At regular intervals the public press reports that the American Medical Association is concerned