The changes that have been made in medicine and its practice in the past 40 years are difficult to comprehend. Individuality of the physician has been lost, in his place a generic individuality has been substituted. Medicine had some rather potent advocates as exemplified by the American Medical Association along with the state medical associations. In spite of these rather formidable institutions the physician has gradually become increasingly toothless. The cautious tactics of the AMA as well as most medical associations has been modified and essentially nullified by our adherence to what is “ethical”. Split by a large number of specialty organizations physicians have been diversified and as the number of organizations has grown their effectiveness in defending physicians has been diminished. The financial institutions dealing with physicians have made great progress in subjugating the medical profession. The multi- specialty medical clinics have been divided easily by the great differences in income of some specialties and the general practice physician.
The above changes are obvious but there is probably another factor that has played a major role in the devaluation of the physician, this being the way our physicians were chosen. The great hurdle was acceptance by a medical school. Selection has been limited to the good student who causes no trouble and is not too aggressive and accepts what he or she encounters. The result has been a rather passive profession that accepts far more than most groups would without protest.
Physicians are a group that could improve their status considerably by realizing that all physicians regardless of specialty have more in common than they think and cohesion and solidarity would benefit all physicians. The financial forces that have gained the upper hand are well aware of our fractured presentation and are able to place us in an increasingly subjugated position. Physicians spend more time, energy and money in pursuing our profession than all other occupations. Regulation and supervision of all of their activities by non physicians does not seem entirely appropriate.