To the editors:
Physicians in Chicago were surprised and disappointed by the title and illustration of the recent article "Why Are Doctors Such Jerks?" that appeared in the Friday, July 10, issue of the Reader. The excessive emphasis on negativism and sensationalism that was displayed in both is not reflective of balanced journalism or of the true state of affairs in Medicine.
In every activity individuals can be found who do not fully understand the true nature of their calling and occasionally do not always bring their best skills to the tasks that they are required to perform. Physicians are no exception, and every effort should be made to identify, correct, and, if necessary, punish such individuals. The Chicago Medical Society, supported by its membership, has recently joined with the AMA in petitioning the Federal Trade Commission for greater authority in taking punitive action against physician members who are found guilty of wrongdoing.
The public certainly deserves to be informed. It needs to understand the right it has to expect quality, caring service from physicians, and the obligation it has to make considered judgments on all aspects of medical care.
The headline and illustration accompanying your recent article, biased as they were, interfered with the public's ability to approach the article in an unprejudiced way because even a trace of the myriad positive aspects of modern medicine was completely absent. Ultimately, your readers were the largest losers through your unfortunate action. They would have been better served had you portrayed physicians as the caring and compassionate professionals that most of them are.
Alan M. Roman, MD
Chicago Medical Society