THE AMERICAN Medical Association's newly named executive vice president (EVP), James S. Todd, MD, says his main goal is to "preserve rational physician autonomy."
In a wide-ranging interview last month with this reporter, Dr Todd explained, "Autonomy does not mean that any physician can do whatever he wants. It means that within the environment of documented competence and ethical behavior, physicians should be free to make the medical decisions that are best for the patient. It is the AMA's main mission to provide this environment."
Rationalism is one of Dr Todd's favorite concepts, but he acknowledges that it faces a tough fight against the emotionalism of the current medical environment.
"There is no sympathy anywhere for the medical profession," he says. "For the individual physician, yes, but for the profession as a whole, no. This is not surprising. People who are sick have no choice. They have to go to