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October 1982

The Physician-Patient Relationship

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(10):1973-1974. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340230223045

To the Editor.  —As an author, I should be only happy to see a full editorial devoted to my recent book,1 but I must also express my disappointment in the editorial's superficial response.2 The public's disenchantment with the medical profession is deep and complex, and the sources of the problems of modern medicine defy easy articulation, if they are, indeed, discernible. Although it is expected that arguments painstakingly developed throughout the course of a book be editorially answered in desultory fashion, it seems inadmissible to not recognize and acknowledge the arguments.A key argument, made explicitly in my book, but not even alluded to in the editorial, is that the physician-patient relationship has evolved into one in which the physician maintains an unhealthy control over the patient, pre-empting not just decisions requiring biological expertise, but also the essentially social, economic, political, cultural, religious and familial decisions in

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