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January 7, 1974

Patients' Rights

Author Affiliations

St. Petersburg, Fla

JAMA. 1974;227(1):77. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230140047018

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To the Editor.—  The recent statement (226:562, 1973) of Edwin J. Holman, Attorney from the Office of General Counsel of the AMA, regarded hard cases as making bad law.I am sure that this is true. His statement reflects the idea that medicine is allowed to do its own self-policing, providing that it reasonably acts in the public interest. The statement also carries with it the warning that if it does not, then society (since it makes the rules) may impose upon organized medicine more restrictive legislation in an attempt to guarantee the public interest.Because of government participation in medicine through Medicare, Medicaide, and possibly Health Maintenance Organization, as well as Physicians' Standards Review Organization, it appears to me that organized medicine should have a positive approach to a Health Care Delivery System retaining as much as possible those characteristics that individual physicians desire. But it must also police