The Charter ( Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium.A Physician's Charter) did not deal with just the important relationship of the physician and the patients but presumed to define what the relationship of the physician should be to society. The physician was to strive for social justice and was to act as the "steward of society's " finite medical resources.
Implicit in the stewardship of resources notion is the egalitarian concept of the collectivization of privately owned resources i.e all of the assets and individual skills that constitute the medical resources. This is the view that resources as a whole should be considered as the common asset of everyone with each to have a right to their share or that the resources are "owned" by everyone. This notion is antithetical of the notion of private property and seemingly ignoring the key role of private property concepts as the basis for civilization, At least that is what David Hume,Adam Smith, John Locke and founding fathers thought about the importance of private property.
Owned is in scare quotes because the concept of ownership in a free society with rule of law entails the right of the owner to use his property,to exclude others from use of his property and the right to dispose of the property.If everyone owns the resource then no one owns it and no one could be excluded from use of the property.
All of the medical resources of the United States cannot in any real sense or legal sense be owned by everyone. So the common ownership rhetoric must be metaphorical and physicians as stewards of the resources must be rhetorical as well. It is a poetic way of saying the physicians should rein in the ever increasing cost of medical care. Further they can do that by ordering fewer tests and procedures and treatments,that they should abide by recommendations based on studies of cost effectiveness of various medical options, that they should not let their concern and duty to the individual patient override the collective good which will be brought about by doing what is best for the group and what will be best will be determined by the progressive medical elite.Just follow the guidelines,Doc.