No Third Parties. The Medical Profession Reclaims Authority in Doctor-Patient Relationships
A key aspect of the classic doctor-patient relationship is the idea that doctors exert a professional authority through medical expertise while also taking care of the patient. Some professional organizations have held that “no third parties” should come between doctor and patient, be it governments or corporations. The sanctity of medical authority has also met resistance, and doctors are often said to face more demanding patients today with their own information about diagnoses. This article concerns how the medical profession reacts faced with challenged authority. Do they seek to reestablish a classic authority position or develop an alternative relationship with citizens? The analysis compares approximately 1.000 editorials in American, British and Danish medical journals from 1950 to the present. The analysis shows that all medical professions see their authority challenged by third parties, but some react defensively while others try to rethink the authority relation between professionals and citizens.
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