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The Physician as Biomedical Scientist

Fred Whitehead, PhD
JAMA. 1980;244(8):770. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310080012013.
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To the Editor.—  With reference to the article by Louis and Agich on "Language and the Physician's Art" (242:2580, 1979), is it not possible that the recent change in the popular conception of the physician from healer to biomedical scientist has a more positive aspect, at least in the long run? Not only is diagnosis now sharper and more precise (with the availability of batteries of tests and other means of assistance), but treatment is more specific and effective. Thus, medicine can be viewed as a phase of the great modern scientific revolution that is transforming the world and our notions of it, a revolution that may in fact still be in its early stages. Rather than being a diminution, this transformation mostly tends to demystify the physician. He is no longer a medicine man, merely consoling the ill, but a scientific hero who can actually cure disease. The physician can


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