Article ID: CBB001421908

Aufstieg und Fall des “Halbgottes in Weiß”? Gesellschaftliches Ansehen und Selbstverständnis von Ärzten (1800--2010) (2013)


"Halbgott in Weiss" (demigod in white): the German metaphor reflects the, rather restrictive, image of surgeons as authoritarian clinicians and undisputed experts that reached an apex around 1970. The salaries of physicians, especially those in private practice, also peaked at that time. This paper outlines the unique journey of members of the medical profession over the last 200 years towards greater recognition, independence and higher incomes. Today, the standing of physicians is as high as it was in 1970. Their salaries have been rising faster in recent decades than those of any other liberal profession or of the population in general. The patients are content. Accepting them as partners is no comedown for physicians but rather a way forward into the service society.

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Authors & Contributors
Bernschneider-Reif, Sabine
Friedrich, Christoph
Ruisinger, Marion Maria
Sohns, Christian
Haskamp, Jannik
Werner, Orla J.
Medical History
Journal of Medical Biography
Historical Research: The Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research
History of Psychiatry
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Oxford University Press
Pickering & Chatto
University of Rochester Press
Physicians; doctors
Medicine and society
Hospitals and clinics
Paracelsus, Theophrast von Hohenheim
Hartlieb, Johannes
Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus
Heister, Lorenz
Down, John Langdon Haydon
Freeman, Walter
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
18th century
21st century
17th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
United States
Berlin (Germany)

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