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Patient and Physician

Robert A. Gatter, MD
JAMA. 1971;217(12):1706. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190120072027.
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To the Editor.—  What has happened to the patient and the physician?As I look over the articles in this journal and others, including nonmedical publications, regarding health programs, I can only find health-care provider and health-care consumer.I remember the days when I was considered a customer in the local stores. Suddenly, I became an impersonal consumer, something to be dealt with by number. I rationalized this by saying that, at least in my own area, my patients will always be patients, and now I find that this sanctity is being threatened also. I cannot see that any good has come from my being a consumer, and I am quite sure that no good will come from patients being considered consumers.At a time when the youth of our country is protesting dehumanization, it seems that this same process is seeking one of the last strongholds of a humanistic


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