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September 13, 1965

Survey of the Law of Medical PracticeII. Contractual Aspects of the Physician-Patient Relationship

JAMA. 1965;193(11):935-940. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090110073018

In the preceding communication we were concerned with an examination of the legal relationships of the physician to the public at large. It is our purpose here to examine the legal relationship that exists between the individual physician and the individual patient. In doing so, it might be helpful to begin by reviewing a "philosophical" analysis of the relationsip which was reported a few years ago by Szasz and Hollender.1 These authors describe three distinct patterns (or models) which the relationship may take.

The traditional pattern is described as one of "activity-passivity." Characteristic of this pattern is the emergency situation or the patient on the operating table. As stated by the authors, such a model "places the physician in absolute control of the situation... It requires that the physician disidentify with the patient as a person." Psychologically this is not really an interaction between people "because it is

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