The Costs of Commercial Medicine
Dougherty, Charles J.
Theoretical Medicine. 1990 Dec; 11(4): 275-286.
The purpose of this paper is to review the rising influence of commercialism in American medicine and to examine some of the consequences of this trend. Increased competition subverts physician collegiality, draws hospitals into for-profit ownership and behavior, and leads clinical investigators into secrecy and possibly into bias and abuse. Medicine faces a deprofessionalization evidenced in loss of control over the clinical setting and over self-regulation. Health care becomes a commodity relying on cultivation of desires instead of satisfaction of needs, even as many basic needs go unmet. Patients become consumers empowered with lawsuits and the connection of medicine to the relief of suffering is attenuated. Medical encounters are increasingly impersonal, dominated by specialization, technology, and bureaucracy. Patients are losing their physician-advocates to new conflicts of interests, physicians are losing their impulse to charity, and trust in the doctor-patient relationship and in medicine generally is eroding.
Altruism; Biomedical Technologies; Conflict of Interest; Clinical Investigators; Dehumanization; Economics; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Hospitals; Incentives; Investigators; Medicine; Organizations; Ownership; Patient Advocacy; Patients; Physician Patient Relationship; Physicians; Proprietary Hospitals; Regulation; Review; Rights; Social Impact; Sociology; Sociology of Medicine; Suffering; Technology; Trust; Values;
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