Physicians, as a rule, don’t bother to vote in elections for organizations that deal with the practice of medicine, so we shouldn’t complain about the results of those elections.
Organizations suffer two common diseases: regulatory capture and mission creep. In the former, the organization that is supposed to look out for all looks out for only a few. In the latter, the organization takes on more and more work outside its original mandate, which costs more and more. The institutions concerned with the practice of medicine (the College, CMPA, Doctors of BC, etc.) are no different.
One assumes there is rule of the majority in these institutions, but this is a fallacy. Consider any Western liberal democracy. In these countries about half the population is under the voting age, bringing the number of eligible voters who decide the winners down to 50%. Usually about 50% of eligible voters bother to vote, meaning that 25% of the population does the deciding. Then, if you consider that two parties usually split the vote (say 51% to 49%), you realize that 12.5% of the population decides who rules 100% of the population.
For medicine-related organizations, voter turnout is even more pathetic, rarely topping 10%, and leading to an even more obvious example of minority rule.
The regulation of medicine is not a prescriptive thing. It is very much a give-and-take thing. In other words, there are rules, but these rules require interpretation. That is why unintended (unfair) consequences are unavoidable.
So if you don’t vote, then don’t criticize.
—Mark Elliott, MD
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org