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January 27, 1989

Medicine and Culture: Varieties of Treatment in the United States, England, West Germany, and France

JAMA. 1989;261(4):627-628. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420040171045

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book by a medical journalist with medical science—related training in biochemistry helps to put medical practice in a cross-national framework by comparing practice in four countries: the United States, Great Britain, France, and West Germany. The author is an American and has also lived in the other countries for quite a few years; she is fluent in French and German. She is modest in her claims of competence in writing this lively book in that she is a journalist and not a social scientist. Good journalists, however, and she is obviously one, have a nose for descriptive vignettes that give some glimmers of their context, and that provide more systematically oriented and trained researchers some handles by which to formulate hypotheses to test. Payer gathered information and impressions by interviewing many physicians in these four countries and gathering published data on surgical rates, drug consumption, and so on.