Attending physicians, the physicians who train interns and residents on hospital wards, have always borne a heavy responsibility. They are accountable for the level of medical care received by each succeeding generation of American patients. But today, these physician-teachers confront unprecedented obstacles. How well they meet the challenge may have long-term consequences for patients and for the medical profession as a whole.
The outbreak of Ebola, in Africa and in the United States, is a stark reminder of the clear and present danger that infection represents in all our lives, and we need reminding.