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June 19, 1991

Medical News and Perspectives

JAMA. 1991;265(23):3077-3091. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460230027002

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Physicians With Heart and Healing Art  THE MEDICAL care that Americans received in the early years of this century was much more an art than a science. It certainly was not a business. In fact, the prospects for wealth were so remote that many young men—and almost all, of course, were men—who were eager to answer the call of Aesculapius had to consider what additional means they might use to support themselves and their families. Moreover, although patients recovered in gratifying numbers, frustratingly often they failed to respond to the limited remedies available.Yet almost anyone old enough to recall the pre-antibiotic, pre-electronic imaging, pre-transplantation, pre-life support system medical era pre-World War II looks back fondly to a day when the doctor never turned anyone away.What has happened since then isn't news to anybody. As methods of diagnosis and therapy for actual diseases became increasingly complex, as the