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December 22, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(25):1634. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460510042009

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According to a newspaper report. a Chicago physician is supposed to know the whereabouts of the principal in a recent murder case and refuses to give any information on the ground that he is bound to protect his patient by the ethics of his profession. In commenting on this supposed fact, the newspaper assumes that the medical profession has set up such a rule as would require physicians to conceal criminals, and says: "Too often fugitives from justice are aided in their attempts to escape by doctors who are over-zealous in their observation of so-called professional ethics. It is time for the medical profession to define clearly where it stands on this important matter." There is a serious misapprehension of facts in the above quotation. Medical secrecy does not demand anything of the physician that would make him an accessory after the fact in a criminal case. Physicians are not

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