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Article
April 14, 1993

What Are We Teaching About Indigent Patients?

JAMA. 1993;269(14):1788. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500140040016
Abstract

To the Editor.  —I can't help but echo the comments of Dr Miles in his essay, "What Are We Teaching About Indigent Patients?"1 As a 20-year practitioner in one of the country's most conservative states, I continue to be frustrated by the inability to obtain ophthalmologic surgery, advanced radiologic imaging studies, or even hospitalization for surgery to be done without charge for the underinsured and uninsured. The unwillingness of colleagues to undertake surgery or treatment of the poor has received tacit endorsement of the physician's rights to be independent in a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die." Unlike Miles' experience, however, the largest teaching institution and private clinic within the state has always been available to diagnose and treat the indigent according to their medical needs.Freedom from the ethical restraints over advertising, collegial endorsement of acquisitiveness, and specialty peer group endorsement of the flight from obligation

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