Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Looking for leaders

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 11 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0-f

In this day and age is Leadership in Medicine achievable?

Reading the analytical editorial of Fiona Godlee(BMJ 2006;332), and
the rapid response feedback of several physicians, it is with dismay that
I raise the question of whether "leadership in medicine" is achievable in
this day and age.

In Western culture where liberty, freedom of thought and actions within
the law are venerable qualities, capitalism has raised its greedy aspects
and extended its activities to a new created field the "business of
medicine", this is where medical leadership has lost the battle, at least
in the United States, in the face of huge pharmaceutical firms, law firms,
health care agencies, Health Insurance companies, Federal health
regulators etc.

Each of these entities, under the guise of "cost savings" and "improving
medical practice" have eroded the almost sacred physician-patient
relationship, informing doctors what to prescribe, to adhere to
"guidelines", to buy the latest diagnostic equipment, at the expense of
foregoing time honored and tested less costly, clinical skills, because,
though sometimes such diagnostic equipment is essential, the former
provide short cuts to diagnosis, but at an exorbitant price and
technicians can inform you of the diagnosis.

Physicians have failed to protect the almost sacred physician-patient
contract, and closed practices to join
various health care agencies, group practices governed by business
administrators, and other agencies.

Unless physicians combine their efforts to regain their entity, and
to limit the erosion of business into medical practice, and to fight
"interference" in their practices
I am not certain that medical leaders, will emerge restoring the time
honored medical traditions of compassionate intelligent care and devotion,
far above and beyond the call of duty to each and every patient.

The task ahead for medical leaders to arise and regain their
respected place is of huge magnitude.
Are we up to the task?

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 May 2006
Munir E Nassar, M.D., Ph.D.
Retired academic without portfolilio
17 Cobblefield Way, Pittsford, NY 14534 USA