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[Correspondence] The physician as dictator

In the wake of the atrocities committed by the regime of ophthalmologist-cum-dictator Bashar al-Assad, the medical community has been horrified by the devastation caused by one of its own.1 Considering the frequent criticisms of the hierarchical power structure in medicine, we sought to establish whether physicians disproportionately tend to be the leaders of autocracies. We analysed the governments of 176 countries over 71 years (1945–2015), identifying the de-facto ruler of every country for each year.