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June 5, 1991

Arnold Relman—the last angry doctor

JAMA. 1991;265(21):2864-2869. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460210110042

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The message to medicine," says Arnold S. Relman, MD, the retiring editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), "is that physicians must give up the way their incomes are currently made and distributed if we are to make the American health care system work in the future."

Relman, who is known to friends by his folksy childhood nickname, "Bud," is a blunt-spoken man whose prickly views of the faults of the "medical-industrial complex" have made him a controversial figure. As the formidable editor of the influential NEJM, he has championed the cause that medicine "should be the stuff of social service, not unbridled entrepreneurship."

From his office on the sixth floor of Boston's Francis A. Countway Library, which serves as the Harvard Medical Library, Relman commands a panoramic view of many of the legendary buildings that for centuries have made Boston a mecca of medicine—the Children's Hospital, the