The Battle for Control of the Regulating Institution of Physicians in France, 1944–1950

By Donna Evleth

This paper examines the battle for control of the Ordre des Médecins, an institution founded under Vichy then reorganized after the Liberation. It describes the origins of the Ordre, then introduces the protagonists vying to control the Ordre: the medical unions, which had existed before the war, were dissolved by Vichy, then returned after the Liberation, and a new force, the medical Resistance, which was a product of the war and the German occupation of France. The article explains how, through elections to the councils of the Ordre, the medical unions, more experienced and more focussed in their aims, won out. It concludes with the contributions of the medical Resistance in other areas, the reform of medical education and the development of group practice.


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