American Medical Ethics
The following description of professional reputation was published by Dr. Godman, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in Rutger's Medical College in 1829, and is so graphic and admirable, that I am induced to copy it. This essay was read, by appointment, before the Philadelphia Medical Society, Feb. 8, 1826, and is extracted from a volume, entitled, “Addresses delivered on Various Occasions. By John D. Godman, M. D., &c.,” and politely sent to me. It affords me much pleasure to place American Medical Ethics before British readers. Our profession is coeval with the distresses and sufferings of the human race, and its respectability is as universal as the benefits it is capable of conferring, when rightly administered — those engaged in the discharge of its duties having always been tacitly considered by their fellow-men, as beings peculiarly set apart from the rest of mankind, and worthy of an estimation, not conceded to persons employed in merely secular affairs.1 The real excellence and usefulness of our art — when worthily practised — has always tended to increase the confidence and admiration of the public; and, if medicine have not attained a degree of perfection and immunity from censure, equal to its venerable age and importance to society, this results from circumstances, which, however they may have injured, are entirely extrinsic to the profession.