Mar 4, 2002

MARINA DEL REY, CA-- Altruism, the moral doctrine that places the needs of others above one's own interests and rights, has created a system that is enslaving doctors. Why is this happening and what's the answer?

Doctors in this country are regarded as public servants who are expected to selflessly sacrifice their time and resources to satisfy the needs of their patients, i.e., doctors are expected to be altruists, says Jonathan Rosman, M.D. Our intellectuals have taught our doctors that need comes before ability, and that healthy and rich doctors have a duty to support sick and poor patients. They have taught our doctors that their patients are their moral superiors--just because their patients are in need.

But every doctor, points out Dr. Rosman, like individuals in other jobs, has a right to work for himself and for his own enjoyment, and to make a ton of money at it if he can. As individuals, doctors have a right to offer their patients treatment according to their best judgment, and to charge such fees as they judge their expertise to be worth. Conversely, patients have the right to accept or reject their doctor's advice and services, and to shop around for the best deals they can get. A patient's right to life is not a right to make a slave of his doctor.

Dr. Rosman urges other doctors to proclaim openly that they refuse to regard themselves as anyone's servants. They should be left free to enjoy their careers as they see fit. It is important that doctors assert their moral right to be free. On the issue of rights, doctors need to be inflexible and intransigent. They need to declare openly and loudly, 'It's my life--hands off!'

Ayn Rand Institute senior writer Jonathan Rosman M.D. is available for interviews.



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