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August 1960

Ars Longa; Vita Brevis

Author Affiliations

Santa Monica, Calif.

Presidental Address to the Pacific Dermatological Association Carmel, Calif., Sept. 10, 1959.

Arch Dermatol. 1960;82(2):222-225. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.01580020064009

The ``Physician-Patient Relationship" is like the "Weather" as remarked upon by Mark Twain: "Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it." We, as practicing physicians, are necessarily constant participants in this bilateral relationship, but, I am afraid, too often we take for granted that we are discharging our share of the responsibility for its success by merely rendering adequate medical services. I wish to discuss this immensely important relationship between physician and patient in the light of modern medical practice.

The numerous aspects of this relationship admit of a variety of classifications, but I choose to set up a single and fundamental one, from the physician's point of view: (1) that part of the relationship for which our medical training prepares us and (2) that part for which we may be no better prepared than the patient.

The first category comprises the so-called "science of medicine'': we bring

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