WHEN DOCTORS ARE PAID BY PUBLIC
TREASURY WE'LL HAVE EFFICIENT SERVICE
BY HERBERT QUICK.
Rabbi Wise of NewYork nas some
words of wisdom with' reference to
the medical practice. The hospitals,
says he, should do more than treat
diseases, they should teach. They
should tell us the social causes of so
"But," he continues, "hospitals
can't become real social centers until
their boards of directors and physi
cians become socialized. Physicians
especially must get a social con
science, they must have a social
vision, they must realize their rela
tion in a social order."
What does the Rabbi mean by a
"socialized" physician? Can a physi
cian be really "socialized" so long as
his living depends on the number of
the sick rather than on the well?
Physicians are already as thor
oughly socialized as they can be un
der our health system. They are do
ing more than we ought to expect of
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selfish human beings. They are
studying how to put themselves out
of business. They are working with a
splendid devotion to perfect preven
tive "medicine and get such mastery
over disease as to reduce the volume
of business coming into their offices.
No other profession is engaged in so
many activities having for their ob
ject the destruction of the very basis
of its livelihood.
The man who consults a physician
should not do so for his own sake
alone, but also for the benefit of the
community, which has a real interest
in general good health. He should
not be obliged to pay a fee. He should
not feel that the doctor who treats
him may have 'a selfish interest in
keeping him ill. And the doctor should
not be placed in the equivocal posi
tion of -advising a patient to do some
thing which must be either profitable
or unprofitable to him, the physician.
He should not be tempted by the re
wards of mal-practice.
We so manage our medical matters
that the whole atmosphere of the
healing art is charged with suspicion,
trickery and graft.
Physicians will be "socialized in the
full sense of the word when their
salaries are paid out Of the public
treasury, and the people urged' to
take their advice and treatment as a
.public duty, as well as a private privilege.
Then and not before, shall we have
a really efficient public health service.
Then and not before, will the man
who is ill be sure that the advice given
him by a doctor is the very best ad
vice which the man is capable of giv
ing. Then and not before, will a doc
tor's success in life depend, not on the
number of sick people under his care,
but on the absence of sickness in his
practice. Then and not till then, will
the doctor's profession "rise to that
level of social service for which Rabbi
.Wise so eloquently speaks.
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