The presidency of the Western Surgical Association is an honor that comes as a stunning surprise, heartwarming to be sure from the knowledge that friends have judged one worthy of the office, but also somewhat frightening with the sudden realization that the title carries with it certain demanding obligations, not the least of which is the presidential address. Having listened to and read the many provocative statements made by past presidents of our Society, I quite naturally was awed by the prospect of trying to bring any really meaningful message to our membership. However, when I had time to reflect, the challenge became an opportunity to express my convictions, my concerns, and my hopes and expectations for the future of surgery in this country. I deeply thank you for this privilege.
All of us are aware of the public's growing disenchantment with the medical profession, fanned by the frequently distorted