Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 10, pp 2273–2274 | Cite as

The Old Gods Have Not Abandoned Us

  • Gaetan SgroEmail author

Much of the fantasy series “Game of Thrones” concerns the conflict between two dynastic families and their competing ideologies—the “winner take all” ethos of the Lannisters against the heroic decency of the Starks. Of the latter family’s patriarch one character notes, “the blood of the First Men still flowed in the veins of the Starks, and his own gods were the old ones.”

Physicians today are engaged in a similar clash between our profession’s traditional, humanistic values and the demands of the modern marketplace. You can hear it in our language.

I recently attended a talk on diversity and inclusion in academic medicine. A prominent figure in medical education shared a vision of an inclusive culture built on the foundations of social justice and equality of opportunity and urged institutions to revise mission statements and adopt policies to align with these values.

When asked how to resolve the conflict between his vision and the tenets of a free market healthcare system, he...


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Conflict of Interest

Dr. Sgro is an Academic Hospitalist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The author declares that he does not have a conflict of interest.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Veterans Affairs or any agency of the U.S. government, or the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.


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    RW P-P. "The Revised Declaration of GenevaA Modern-Day Physician’s Pledge." JAMA (2017); 318(20):1971–1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine (This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System University of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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