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great majority of physicians who generally perform arduous duties without hope of pecuniary acknowledgment. The few that are salaried are entirely too modest in their just demands. It is, therefore, high time that members of the profession assert themselves and insist upon the same recognition of their labors as is accorded to men of other professions. The contributions in kind, that is to say, in the way of professional services, made by physicians, to hospitals and dispensaries, very greatly exceed in time and money value whatever, as if lay individuals, they might generously and liberally contribute pecuniarily. If paid as men of other professions are paid, they would gladly contribute moneys as others do, and their paid services would be much more highly appreciated than are the varied and exacting services they have so long performed gratuitously.
In final rebuttal of the allegation that the public has nothing to do with, and should neither know of, nor care about, the laws governing the conduct of physicians, let it be said that this public is in constant multifarious relations with those physicians who give so freely and generously their services in dispensaries and hospitals which would all have to be closed if the physicians were to cease attendance and no other physicians would take their places. The public demands and obtains the best abilities, the greatest devotion and the hardest work of these physicians whose services this public gets gratis but which it would surely appreciate much more highly if they were paid for. The public needs the best services of those devoted
physicians who, connected with local boards of health, are doing such excellent work in sanitation and who are so poorly paid for their valuable labor. Many large corporations, which could not exist without medical aid, make but little recognition of this indispensable element of their existence; and so it is with every public institution where the services of physicians are absolutely necessary.
The physician will never occupy the position to which he has a right in the community until he places a higher value on his services and, like members of other professions, he insists upon due pecuniary acknowledgment of these services.
To the questions pertaining to physicians holding public offices, and to the occasional relations of other members of the profession with newspaper correspondents, it is hoped that the following replies will suffice.
A physician in public office who regards the spirit of sound moral precepts will not violate it in any particular; and unless his ordinary signature be indispensable, as in an official document, he would naturally sign-"The physician in charge," or "The chief medical officer," etc., just as in the case of illness of a public personage, he would sign a bulletin—“The attending physician." Such provisions would be unnecessary in any system of medical law; its spirit is always rightly interpreted by high-minded physicians whose acts are never indicative of bad taste or of a prurient desire for notoriety.
Regarding interviews, except in extraordinary circumstances, there is no valid excuse for the appearance of the
interviewed physician's name. He should freely give the desired information, whenever of public import, on condition that the interviewer say in his publication—“The above statement is from a reputable physician." The public is likely to be satisfied with such a declaration in a responsible newspaper.
What the physician shall do and what he shall not do for the honor, dignity, and advancement of the profession, and for the public weal.
1. Exert your best abilities to maintain the dignity, honor, and high standing of the profession.
2. Strive to extend the bounds of its usefulness and to contribute abundant materials to enrich the science and art of medicine.
3. Obey all laws instituted for the government of the profession.
4. Observe proper respect for your seniors.
5. Be temperate in all things.
6. Be loyal to your brother physician in cases of interference.
7. Do not indulge rivalship or jealousy in consultations, but be fair, candid, considerate, and respectful to your colleagues.
8. Beware of all contentions and controversies.
9. Avoid newspaper notoriety, which is so much sought by charlatans.
10. Be as diligent in your public as in your private labors, and let them be of such a character as to merit the approval of the profession and of the public.
11. And remember that it is the duty of the associated physicians of a community to inform the public of the nature of its obligations to the medical profession.
THE LANGUAGE OF MEDICINE
Correct, simple, concise, and clear medical language as essential to the conduct of oral or written discourse as the cultivation of the senses is to the study and practice of medicine-Some of the medical writers of the nineteenth century-The young physician beginning to write for publication-Word controversy-The misusage of words-Wrongly coined wordsFrequent revisions of essays-The early drilling of students in the use of words of precision.
What has the language of medicine to do with principles of conduct?
The answer to this query is very much indeed, for it will be perceived, in the course of this conference, that the observance of correctness and precision in medical language is as essential to the proper conduct of oral or written discourse as the cultivation of the senses is to the study and practice of medicine. All doubts on this subject will speedily vanish if the periodical medical literature of the day be only cursorily examined and compared with the admirable writings of masters of the past, one of whom went so far as to say substantially that the sciences are reducible to exact language.
The writers on medicine use a language which possesses sufficient peculiarities to merit special consideration, although it does not differ very greatly from that of some