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By Andreas-Holger Maehle

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Additional resources for Doctors, Honour and the Law: Medical Ethics in Imperial Germany

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The continuing necessity of such disciplinary control was incontrovertible for him: That courts of honour ... are necessary for the medical profession requires no proof. 99 Following discussions in the medical chambers,100 a draft professional code was submitted to the state government at the start of 1910. However, the Higher Medical Commission, which subsequently had to scrutinise the draft, insisted on deleting the crucial rule that contracts with the sickness insurance organisations should only be made through contract commissions of the medical district societies, and it also deleted a section that declared it as desirable for every doctor to be a member of a professional and economic organisation.

On this basis I will discuss which issues of professional conduct kept the medical courts of honour busy, how they explained their decisions and to what extent the fears of the critics turned out to be justified. The 12 provincial medical courts of honour (attached to the doctors’ chambers) in Prussia had to provide annual reports of their activity, which were collected in the Prussian Ministry for Religious, Educational and Medical Affairs and, from 1911, the Prussian Ministry of the Interior.

830. the insurance system, but they also involved negligent and false certifying, and failure to provide medical reports (cf. 115 The medical courts of honour also acted as enforcers of professional solidarity among doctors versus the insurance boards. The medical 38 Doctors, Honour and the Law chambers and the Association for the Doctors of Germany for the Protection of their Economic Interests (the so-called Hartmann-Bund, founded in 1900) made their members give their word of honour that they would not enter a contract with a health insurance organisation without the permission of their contract commissions.

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