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February 20, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(8):538-539. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490530040007

The progress that has been made in collecting mortuary and vital statistics is a matter of congratulation to the medical profession. Sources of error are being eliminated, approved methods are receiving wider adoption, and the facts deduced from these figures are coincidently becoming more valuable and more authoritative. Occasionally there is an obstacle in the march of progress.

Almost every law requiring the reporting of births provides for the payment of a small fee to the reporter. The absence of such a provision in the law of St. John, N. B., has been, in part, the cause of the resistance of that law by the St. John physicians. We have mentioned this matter as news.1 In protesting against this law, the medical men assert that by reporting births they violate the confidential relationship between them and their patients. They assert that they are made spies and informers, and they