AMA and Peer Review

Robert Kimber, MD
Article Type: 
May/June 1999
Volume Number: 
Issue Number: 

Dear Editor,
I hope you have accessed the AMA website for medical ethics because as an AMA member I am in a quandary as to what to do. In their documents you can find what I think are many seeds of our destruction. While the majority of the information sounds good, it essentially amounts to belated and reactive postures to the orderly transfer of our autonomy to resource managers who hide behind "public health" and "quality" as quasi-legal terms of art which they are not...

The issue of who practices is of course the same as who is credentialed. Credentialing based on scientific knowledge and ethics no longer occurs...

Peer review thus maintains its protected and revered status whether or not its fundamental purpose is thwarted by corporate bylaws which deprive physicians and by extension patients of basic civil liberties...Peer review is such a revered activity that the legislature has guaranteed that no lawsuit for wrongful discharge can ever be successfully litigated because there is absolutely no discovery and no recovery. This supposedly protects public health and assures quality. The managed care and private hospital attorneys argue that because one is not prohibited from initiating a lawsuit, albeit quixotic, he still maintains enough of his civil liberties to make it legal....

Please check out the web page at

Robert Kimber, MD
Atlanta, GA

Correspondence originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(3);77-81. Copyright©1999 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

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