Medical Society of the State of New York (1807- ).

Medical directory of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (Volume v.14) online

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from the report of the Special Committee on Revision of the Code of Medical Ethics
be printed as an explanatory preface to these "Principles":

"The caption 'Principles of Medical Ethics' has been substituted for 'Code of Medical
Ethics.' Inasmuch as the American Medical Association may be conceived to hold a
relation to the constituent state associations analogous to that of the United States
through its constitution to the several states, the committee deemed it wiser to

^Adopted by the Medical Society of the State of New York, May 10, 1906.


formulate the principles of medical ethics without definite reference to code or
penalties. Large discretionary powers are thus left to the respective state and ter-
ritorial societies to form such codes and establish such rules for the professional
conduct of their members as they may consider proper, provided, of course, that there
shall be no infringement of the established ethical principles of this Association.
"Respectfully submitted,

"Joseph D. Bryant.

"T. J. Happel.

"Nicholas Senn.

"William H. Welch.

"E. Eliot Harris, Chairman."


Section 1. — Physicians should not only be ever ready to obey the calls of the sick
and the injured, but should be mindful of the high character of their mission and of
the responsibilities they must incur in the discharge of momentous duties. In their
ministrations they should never forget that the comfort, the health, and the lives of
those entrusted to their care depend on skill, attention and fidelity. In deportment
they should unite tenderness, cheerfulness and firmness, and thus inspire all sufferers
with gratitude, respect and confidence. These observances are the more sacred be-
cause, generally, the only tribunal to adjudge penalties for unkindness, carelessness
or neglect is their own conscience.

Sec. 2. Every patient committed to the charge of a physician should be treated with
attention and humanity, and reasonable indulgence should be granted to the caprices
of the sick. Secrecy and delicacy should be strictly observed; and the familiar and
confidential intercourse to which physicians are admitted, in their professional visists,
should be guarded with the most scrupulous fidelity and honor.

Sec. 3. The obligation of secrecy extends beyond the period of professional services;
none of the privacies of individual or domestic life, no infirmity of disposition or flaw
of character observed during medical attendance, should ever be divulged by phy-
sicians, except when imperatively required by the laws of the State. The force of the
obligation of secrecy is so great that physicians have been protected in its observance
by courts of justice.

Sec. 4. Frequent visits to the sick are often requisite, since they enable the physi-
cian to arrive at a more perfect knowledge of the disease, and to meet promptly
every change which may occur. Unnecessary visits are to be avoided, as they give
undue anxiety to the patient; but to secure the patient against irritating suspense
and disappointment the regular and periodical visits of the physician should be made
as nearly as possible at the hour when they may be reasonably expected by the

Sec. 5. Ordinarily, the physician should not be forward t» make gloomy prognos-
tications, but should not fail, on proper occasions, to give timely notice of
dangerous manifestations to the friends of the patient; and even to the patient, if
absolutely necessary. This notice, however, is at times so peculiarly alarming when
given by the physician that its deliverance may often be preferably assigned to an-
other person of good judgment.

Sec. 6. The physician should be a minister of hope and comfort to the si*k, since
life may be lengthened or shortened not only by the acts but by the words or manner
of the physician, whose solemn duty is to avoid all utterances and actions having a
tendency to discourage and depress the patient.

Sec. 7. The medical attendant ought not to abandon a patient because deemed in-
curable; for continued attention may be highly useful to the sufferer and comforting
to the relatives, even in the last period of the fatal malady, by alleviating pain and
by soothing mental anguish.

Sec. 8. The opportunity which a physician has of promoting and strengthening the
good resolutions of patients suffering under the consequences of evil conduct ought
never to be neglected. Good counsels, or even remonstrances, will give satisfaction,
not offense, if they be tactfully proffered and evince a genuine love of virtue, accom-
panied by a sincere interest in the welfare of the person to whom they are addressed.

Section 1. Everyone on entering the profession, and thereby becoming entitled to
full professional fellowship, incurs an obligation to uphold its dignity and honor, to


exalt its standing and to extend the bounds of its usefulness. It is inconsistent with
the principles of medical science and it is incompatible with honorable standing in the
profession for physicians to designate their practice as based on an exclusive dogma
or a sectarian system of medicine.

Sec. 2. The physician should observe strictly such laws as are instituted for the gov-
ernment of the members of the profession; should honor the fraternity as a body;
should endeavor to promote the science and art of medicine and should entertain a due
respect for those seniors who, by their labors, have contributed to its advancement.

Sec. 3. Every physician should identify himself with the organized body of his pro-
fession as represented in the community in which he resides. The organization of local
or county medical societies, where they do not exist, should be effected, so far as
practicable. Such county societies, constituting as they do the chief element of strength
in the organization of the profession, should have the active support of their members
and should be made instruments for the cultivation of fellowship, for the exchange of
professional experience, for the advancement of medical knowledge, for the maintenance
of ethical standards, and for the promotion in general of the interests of the profession
and the welfare of the public.

Sec. 4. All county medical societies thus organized ought to place themselves in affil-
iation with their respective state associations, and these, in turn, with the American
Medical Association.

Sec. 5. There is no profession from the members of which greater purity of charac-
ter and a higher standard of moral excellence are required than the medical; and to
attain such, eminence is a duty every physician owes alike to the profession and to
patients. It is due to the patients, as without it their respect and confidence can not
be commanded: and to the profession, because no scientific attainments can compensate
for the want of correct moral principles.

Sec. 6. It is incumbent on physicians to be temperate in all things, for the practice
of medicine requires the unremitting exercise of a clear and vigorous understanding;
and in emergencies — for which no physician should be unprepared — a steady hand, an
acute eye and an unclouded mind are essential to the welfare and even to the life of
a human being.

Sec. 7. It is incompatible with honorable standing in the profession to resort to public
advertisement or private cards inviting the attention of persons affected with particular
diseases; to promise radical cures; to publish cases or operations in the daily prints,
or to suffer such publications to be made; to invite laymen (other than relatives who
may desire to be at hand) to be present at operations; to boast of cures and remedies;
to adduce certificates of skill and success, or to employ any of the other methods of

Sec. 8. It is equally derogatory to professional character for physicians to hold
patents for any surgical instruments or medicines; to accept rebates on prescriptions
or surgical appliances; to assist unqualified persons to evade the legal restrictions'
governing the practice of medicine; or to dispense, or promote the use of, secret medi-
cines, for if such nostrums are of real efficacy, any concealment regarding them is in-
consistent with beneficence and professional liberality, and if mystery alone gives them
pubic notoriety, such craft implies either disgraceful ignorance or fraudulent avarice.
It is highly reprehensible for physicians to give certificates attesting the efficacy of
secret medicines, or other substances used therapeutically.


Section 1. Physicians should not, as a general rule, undertake the treatment of
themselves, nor of members of their family. In such circumstances they are peculiarly
dependent on each other; therefore, kind offices and professional aid should always be
cheerfully and gratuitously afforded. These visits ought not, however, to be obtrusive-
ly made, as they may give rise to embarrassment or interfere with that free choice on
which such confidence depends.

Sec. 2. All practising physicians and their immediate family dependents are entitled
to the gratuitous services of any one or more of the physicians residing near them.

Sec. 3. When a physician is summoned from a distance to the bedside of a colleague
in easy financial circumstances, a compensation, proportionate to traveling expenses and
to the pecuniary loss entailed by absence from the accustomed field of professional
labor, should be made by the patient or relatives.

Sec. 4. When more than one physician is attending another, one of the number
should take charge of the case, otherwise the concert of thought and action so essential
to wise treatment can not be assured.


Sec. 5. The affairs of life, the pursuit of health, and the various accidents and con-
tingencies to which a physician is peculiarly exposed sometimes require the temporary
withdrawal of this physician from daily professional labor and the appointment of a
colleague to act for a specified time. The colleague's compliance is an act of courtesy
which should always be performed with the utmost consideration for the interest and
character of the family physician.


Section 1. The broadest dictates of humanity should be obeyed by physicians when-
ever and wherever their services are needed to meet the emergencies of disease or

Sec. 2. Consultations should be promoted in difficult cases, as they contribute to con-
fldence and more enlarged views of practice.

Sec. 3. The utmost punctuality should be observed in the visits of physicians when
they are to hold consultations, and this is generally practicable, for society has been
so considerate as to allow the plea for a professional engagement to take precedence
over all others.

Sec. 4. As professional engagements may sometimes cause delay in attendance, the
physician who first arrives should wait for a reasonable time, after which the con-
sultation should be considered as postponed to a new appointment.

Sec. 5. In consultations no insincerity, rivalry or envy should be indulged; candor,
probity and all due respect should be observed toward the physician in charge of the

S ic. 6. No statement nor discussion of the case should take place before the patient
or frien 's, except in the presence of all the physicians attending, or by their common
consent; and no opinions nor prognostications should be delivered which are not the
result of previous deliberation and concurrence.

Sec. 7. No decision should restrain the attending physician from making such subse-
quent variations in the mode of treatment as any unexpected change in the character
of the case may demand. But at the next consultation reasons for variations should be
stated. The same privilege, with its obligation, belongs to the consultant when sent for
in an emergency during the absence of the family physician.

Sec. 8. The attending physician, at any time, may prescribe for the patient, not so
the consultant, when alone, except in a case of emergency or when called from a
considerable distance. In the first instance the consultant should do what is needed,
and in the second should do no more than make an examination of the patient and
leave a written opinion, under seal, to be delivered to the attending physician.

Sec. 9. All discussions in consultation should be held as confidential. Neither by
words nor by manner should any of the participants in a consultation assert or intimate
that any part of the treatment pursued did not receive his assent.

Sec. 10. It may happen that two physicians can not agree in their views of the nature
of a case and of the treatment to be pursued. In the event of such disagreement a
third physician should, if practicable, be called in. None but the rarest and most ex-
ceptional circumstances would justify the consultant in taking charge of the case. He
should not do so merely on the solicitation of the patient or friends.

Sec. 11. A physician who is called in consultation should observe the most honorable
and scrupulous regard for the character and standing of the attending physician, whose
conduct of the case should be justified, as far as can be, consistently with a conscien-
tious regard for truth, and no hint or insinuation should be thrown out which would
impair the confidence reposed in the attending physician.


Section 1. Medicine being a liberal profession, those admitted to its ranks should
found their expectations of practice especially on the character and the extent of their
medical education.

Sec. 2. The physician, in his intercourse with a patient under the care of another
physician, should observe the strictest caution and reserve; should give no disin-
genuous hints relative to the nature and treatment of the patient's disorder, nor
should the course of conduct of the physician, directly or indirectly, tend to diminish
the trust reposed in the attending physician.

Sec. 3. The same circumspection should be observed when, from motives of business
or friendship, a physician is prompted to visit a person who is under the direction of
another physician. Indeed, such visits should be avoided, except under peculiar cir-
cumstances and, when they are made no inquiries should be instituted relative to the


nature of the disease, or the remedies employed, but the topics of conversation should
be as foreign to the case as circumstances will admit.

Sec. 4. A physician ought not to take charge of, nor prescribe for, a patient who has
recently been under the care of another physician, in the same illness, except in case
of a sudden emergency, or in consultation with the physician previously in attendance,
or when that physician has relinquished the case or has been dismissed in due form.

Sec. 5. The physician acting in conformity with the preceding section should not
make damaging insinuations regarding the practice previously adopted, and, indeed,
should justify it if consistent with truth and probity ; for it often happens that patients
become dissatisfied when they are not immediately relieved, and, as many diseases
are naturally protracted, the seeming want of success, in the first stage of treatment,
affords no evidence of a lack of professional knowledge or skill.

Sec. 6. When a physician is called to an urgent case, because the family attendant
is not at hand, unless assistance in consultation is desired, the former should resign
the care of the patient immediately on the arrival of the family physician.

Sec. 7. It often happens, in cases of sudden illness, and of accidents and injuries,
owing to the alarm and anxiety of friends, that several physicians are simultaneously
summoned. Under these circumstances, courtesy should assign the patient to the first
who arrives, and who, if necessary, may invoke the aid of some of those present. In
such cases, however, the acting physician should request that the family physician be
called, and should withdraw unless requested to continue in attendance.

Sec. 8. Whenever a physician is called to the patient of another physician during the
enforced absence of that physician, the case should be relinquished on the return of
the latter.

Sec. 9. A physician, while visiting a sick person in the country, may be asked to
see another physician's patient because of a sudden aggravation of the disease. On such
an occasion the immediate needs of the patient should be attended to and the case
relinquished on the arrival of the attending physician.

Sec. 10. When a physician who has been engaged to attend an obstetric case is absent
and another is sent for, delivery being accomplished during the vicarious attendance,
the acting physician is entitled to the professional fee, but must resign the patient on
the arrival of the physician first engaged.


Section 1. Diversity of opinion and opposition of interest may, in the medical as in
other professions, sometimes occasion controversy and even contention. Whenever such
unfortunate cases occur and can not be immediately adjusted, they should be referred
to the arbitration of a sufficient number of impartial physicians.

Sec. 2. A peculiar reserve must be maintained by physicians toward the public in
regard to some professional questions, and as there exist many points in medical ethics
and etiquette through which the feelings of physicians may be painfully assailed in
their intercourse, and which can not be understood or appreciated by general society,
neither the subject-matter of their differences nor the adjudication of the arbitrators
should be made public.


Section 1. By the members of no profession are eleemosynary services more liberally
dispensed than by the medical, but justice requires that some limits should be placed
to their performance. Poverty, mutual professional obligations, and certain of the
public duties named in Sections 1 and 2 of Chapter III should always be recognized as
presenting valid claims for gratuitous services; but neither institutions endowed by the
public or by the rich, or by societies for mutual benefit, for life insurance, or for anal-
ogous purposes, nor any profession or occupation can be admitted to possess such

Sec. 2. It cannot be justly expected of physicians to furnish certificates of inability
to serve on juries, or to perform militia duty; to testify to the state of health of per-
sons wishing to insure their lives, obtain pensions, or the like, without due compensa-
tion, but to persons in indigent circumstances such services should always be cheerfully
and freely accorded.

Sec. 3. Some general rules should be adopted by the physicians in every town or
district relative to the minimum pecuniary acknowledgment from their patients; and
it should be deemed a point of honor to adhere to these rules with as much uniformity
as varying circumstances will admit.

Sec. 4. It is derogatory to professional character for physicians to pay or offer to
pay commissions to any person whatsoever who may recommend to them patients


requiring general or special treatment or surgical operations. It is equally derogatory
to professional character for physicians to solicit or to receive such commissions.


Section 1. As good citizens it is the duty of physicians to be very vigilant for the
welfare of the community, and to bear their part in sustaining its laws, institutions
and burdens; especially should they be ready to co-operate with the proper authorities
in the administration and the observance of sanitary laws and regulations, and they
should also be ever ready to give counsel to the public in relation to Biibjects especially
appertaining to their profession, as on questions of sanitary police, public hygiene and
legal medicine.

See. 2. It is the province of physicians to enlighten the public in regard to quaran-
tine regulations; to the location, arrangement and dietaries of hospitals, asylums,
schools, prisons and similar institutions; in regard to measures for the prevention of
epidemic and contagious diseases; and, when pestilence prevails, it is their duty to
face the danger, and to continue their labors for the alleviation of the suffering people,
even at the risk of their own lives.

Sec. 3. Physicians, when called on by legally constituted authorities, should always
be ready to enlighten inquests and courts of justice on subjects strictly medical, such
as involve questions relating to sanity, legitimacy, murder by poison or other violent
means, and various other subjects, embraced in the science of medical jurisprudence.
It is but just, however, for them to expect due compensation for their services.

Sec. 4. It is the duty of physicians, who are frequent witnesses of the great wrongs
committed by charlatans, and of the injury to health and even destruction of life
caused by the use of their treatment, to enlighten the public on these subjects, and to
make known the injuries sustained by the unwary from the devices and pretensions
of artful impostors.

Sec. 5. It is the duty of physicians to recognize and by legitimate patronage to
promote the profession of pharmacy, on the skill and proficiency of which depends the
reliability of remedies, but any pharmacist who, although educated in his own pro-
fession, is not a qualified physician, and who assumes to prescribe for the sick, ought
not to receive such countenance and support. Any druggist or pharmacist who dis-
penses deteriorated or sophisticated drugs or who substitutes one remedy for another
designated in a prescription ought thereby to forfeit the recognition and influence of



OFFICERS.— G. J. Olsson, Pres. ; Geo. W. Schaefer, 1st Vice-Pres. ; R. A. Toms, 2d Vice-
Pres. ; L. Alderman, 3d Vice-Pres.; G. R. Thompson, Rec. Sec; M. B. Pearlstein, Treas. ;
0. A. Hyde, Queens Cor. Sec.

YORK. — Annual meeting second Tuesday and Wednesday in February.

OFFICERS.— Willis B. Gifford, Pres., Attica; B. W. Sherwood, 1st Vice-Pres., Syra-
cuse; Walter Gray Crump, 2d Vice-Pres., 837 Madison av., N. Y. ; W. H. Pierson, 3d
Vice-Pres., Bklyn. ; R. B. Howland, Treas., Elmira; B. B. Clark, 6 W. 129th St., N. Y.
City, Sec.

ALBANY COUNTY HOM'OEOPATHIC SOCI ETY.— Annual meeting second Thursday in

OFFICERS.— J. B. Congdon, Pres.; B. E. Marshall, Vice-Pres.; W. N. Nead, Treas.; A.
W. Greene, 12 N. Allen st., Albany, Sec.

BROOME COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Meets third Thursday in each month.
Annual meeting in June.

OFFICERS.— C. A. Ward, Pres., Binghamton ; D. P. Bailey, 1st Vice-Pres., Binghamton ;
E. D. Holly, 2d Vice-Pres., Candor; W. F. Ward, Sec. and Treas., Binghamton.

CHENANGO COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Annual meeting third Tuesday in
January, at Norwich.

OFFICERS.— R. E. Miller, Pres., Oxford; William Little, Vice-Pres., Sherburne; F. F.
Roper, Sec. and Treas., Norwich.


KINGS COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Annual meeting in Brooklyn second Tues-
day in January.

OFFICERS.— R. I. Lloyd, Pres. ; F. E. VV. Hopke, Vice-Pres. ; R. Upham, Sec, 300 Mc-
Donough St., Brooklyn; A. Bornmann, Treas.

MADISON COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY. ^Annual meeting at Oneida fourth Tues-
day in June.

OFFICERS.— B. F. Gifford, Pres., Madison; E. N. Coon De Ruyter, Vice-Pres.; J. T. Wal-
lace, Sec. and Treas., Oneida.

MONROE COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Annual meeting at Rochester second
Tuesday in December.

OFFICERS. — Frank T. Bascom, Pres. ; W. F. Fowler, Vice-Pres. ; Frank Barber, Sec. and
Treas., 70 Clinton av. S., Rochester.

NEW YORK COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Monthly meeting second Thursday.
Annual meeting in December.

OFFICERS.— J. W. Allen. Pres.; J. H. Storer, Vice-Pres.; L. F. Cocheu, 39 W. 67th st,
N. Y. City, Sec. ; E. W. Kellogg, Treas.

ONONDAGA COUNTY HOMOEOPATHIC SOCIETY.— Annual meeting first Tuesday in May,

Online LibraryMedical Society of the State of New York (1807- )Medical directory of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (Volume v.14) → online text (page 111 of 137)