NEJM Editor-in-Chief Arnold S. Relman, M.D., 1923-2014

Relman
Arnold Relman, M.D.

Arnold (“Bud”) Relman, who served as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine from 1977 through 1991, died on June 17 from complications of advanced malignant melanoma. He was 91.

Dr. Relman was a renowned clinician, teacher, and investigator in nephrology. He was professor of medicine and director of the Boston University Medical Services at Boston City Hospital and later became chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine.

He wrote passionately about many aspects of health care, voicing opposition to the intrusion of business interests into the practice of medicine. Just months before his death, Dr. Relman wrote a compelling article for the New York Review of Books, “On Breaking One’s Neck,” in which he described his experience as a patient after a near-fatal fall, including the cost of his care.

In a recent tribute in NEJM, Dr. Relman’s colleagues wrote the following: “In the increasingly complex world of health care, Bud Relman was a prophetic figure, larger than life. He acted as our conscience. In his writing and speaking, he always reminded us that the medical profession is far more than a business and that as physicians, we have the responsibility to do what is right for patients and for the community as a whole.”

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