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The Gospel of Getting

Let me begin by quoting an interesting article that appeared in JAMA 100 years ago. A few days ago a famous American surgeon told a friend that it was a constant mortification to him that for his life-work he had not chosen business rather than medicine, and yet the annual income of this particular surgeon is perhaps $100,000. Also a few days ago at the testimonial dinner to Robert Koch in New York City, a layman, Andrew Carnegie, who has gathered, who has given away and who still has left more money than any other one individual, said that he would give all his worldly wealth for the immaterial wealth of many of the physicians there before him. This envying surgeon supposes that money can buy what is unpurchasable or goods that cannot be delivered. In contrast, Carnegie’s confession that money was a poor substitute for the beneficent science of an intelligent and unselfish medical man, is an acknowledgment of the utter failure of the gospel of getting. As physicians, we sometimes lose sight of why we went into this profession. For the true rewards are intangible and are receive in helping those who are suffering.

Terry Pfau, DO, HMD

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