Excerpt from Transactions of the Mississippi Valley Medical Association, Vol. 3: Twenty-Seventh Annual Session, Held at Hotel Victory, Put-in-Bay Island, O., September 12, 13, and 14, 1901
The doctor must learn commercial business methods in reference to accuracy in keeping the accounts of his patients, an d if he would be as prompt as his butcher, grocer, and tailor in sending the accounts for liquidation he would be not a whit less ethical, and, on the other hand, would have prompt payment of his just due.
Give the patient your best efforts, with the sole purpose of relieving him and without thought of the fee. But when the service has been rendered be as energetic to secure your fees as you were to relieve the patient's suffering. A lay man's gratitude for suffering relieved is in inverse ratio to the time his account runs. In sufficient time a layman may so far forget past suffering as to feel injured that the doctor should present an account at all.
We are a forgiving, patient, sympathetic, and charitable profession. Nevertheless, I can see no charity in allowing the patient to take his own time, method, and estimate of the amount the doctor should receive. I have seen too many doctor's families left in a poor financial condition by the death of the doctor, who, good, patient, and charitable to his patients, was cruel to his own dear ones because he did not practice common sense business principles.
There are many other elements of less importance than the ones I have named which modify the success of the doctor. I have, however, said enough.
In closing, let me quote from an address made by Dr. John S. Billings, of New York, on the career of the medical man.
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