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April 1973

American Surgery's Noblest Experiment

Author Affiliations

Spokane, Wash
From the Surgical Service, Rockwood Clinic and Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wash.

Arch Surg. 1973;106(4):379-385. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350160001001

A cliché commonly heard today is that medical care is becoming dehumanized. It is of interest that those who entertain this belief have developed a vocabulary hardly designed to decelerate such a trend, if indeed it exists. In the lexicon of the sociologist, the economist, and big government, that suffering human being, the patient, has become the "consumer," the dedicated physician who ministers to his ailments the "provider," and a respected profession and its allies are referred to as the "health care industry." One of the chief problems confronting anyone attempting to refute the charge of dehumanization is the difficulty of documenting objectively what is essentially a subjective impression. This applies also to the matter of the physician's concern for the welfare of his patients. It is my purpose this morning to document this tenet at least by an account of what I regard as "American Surgery's Noblest Experiment."


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