Sue Young Histories

Benjamin Rush on the Freedom of Medicine

September 06, 2007

benjamin rushBenjamin Rush, signatory to the Declaration of Independence wrote:

‘Unless we put medical freedom in the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organise itself into an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class (of men) and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic and have no place in a Republic. The Constitution of this Republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom.’

Benjamin Rush 1746 - 1813

Benjamin Rush, Access to Medical Treatment Act: hearing of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, on S. 2140 to permit an individual to be treated by a health care practitioner with any method of medical treatment such individual requests, and for other purposes, July 22, 1994, Volume 4, (United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labor and Human Resources, 1994).

For further information on Benjamin Rush’s contributions to the AMA Code 1847 see John Balint, Martin Strosberg, Ethics and epidemics, (Emerald Group Publishing, 2006) for the [building blocks of the AMA Code 1847](,+(Bell+and+Hays+(1847)&hl=en&ei=FnmTToXeGoKeOrzcyasH&sa=X&oi=book\_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=AMA%20Code%201847%2C%20(Bell%20and%20Hays%20(1847)&f=false), (Bell and Hays (1847), 1999).


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