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September 22, 1989

Luxurious Cars: Should Physicians Flaunt Their Wealth?

Author Affiliations

Belton, Tex

Belton, Tex

JAMA. 1989;262(12):1631. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430120081020

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To the Editor. —  While waiting at a hotel as a medical specialty meeting was adjourning, I watched as the attendees got in a line of valet-driven Mercedes automobiles.I assume that the Internal Revenue Service encourages physicians to acquire luxurious cars, but what did the laypersons think who saw that parade of fine cars and what impact does it have on those who see it daily in the physicians' parking lot?Once, a physician told me that a good car indicated to your patients that you are a good physician since you are successful. Is that true today? Does a regal car underscore our tradition of helping people? Does it make the public more sensitive to our profession as we speak about government infringement on the physician-patient relationship, the inequities in our reimbursement, the liability crisis, and our declining income?When I was a child, I heard of the