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May 1975

The Measure of a Surgeon

Author Affiliations

From the Department of General Surgery, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(5):464-470. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360110010002

I am acutely aware of the high honor you have conferred on me in electing me your president for this year, and I approach this address with no small degree of trepidation. This stems from my realization that I must speak to a discriminating audience of outstanding surgeons, and must follow some distinguished predecessors.

This fear is coupled with pleasure, however, because it gives me an opportunity to speak to a subject that I consider vital in our present health setting. With Professional Standards Review Organization (PSRO) legislation a reality and with increasing public clamor for medicine's accountability, how do we, as surgeons, respond? How do we give tangible proof that we do, indeed, practice quality surgery?

Quality is a concept hard to define. It does, nonetheless, imply the existence of standards against which anything can be measured or compared. For the individual surgeon, these standards are implicit in membership