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February 1, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(5):329. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480050043011

The giving and taking of commissions has been repeatedly decried and the consensus of opinion among honorable men is that, unlike charity which "blesses him who gives and him who takes," it debauches both. That the practice is growing there can be no doubt. The peddling of cases from surgeon to surgeon by "drummer-physicians" who make a trade of their profession, caring less for the ability of the operator than for the percentage he gives, is ordinarily dwelt upon at length. It is clear, however, that the consultant surgeon or specialist who gives such a commission is equally culpable. He defrauds the patient, places himself in the power of the case-vendor, and does himself a great injustice. He defrauds the patient by charging him for something he does not give. The surgeon is called to the case in question because of his supposed superior knowledge and operative ability. For the