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April 14, 1975

Dilemmas and Solutions

Author Affiliations

Thessaloniki, Greece

JAMA. 1975;232(2):134. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250020012004

To the Editor.—  The points Dr. Harrison raises in his article "Dilemmas and Solutions" (230:401, 1974) are very interesting. It is obvious, though, that the dilemmas proposed as examples of different situations that might arise are not medical.Physicians have been trained and used through centuries to make decisions based on medical grounds.The examples put forward, especially the "kidney transplant," show clearly that physicians are sometimes called to solve nonmedical dilemmas. If the two patients of the example were stripped of their social, scientific, and other attributes, then the surgeon would be faced with the medical problem of transplanting a kidney to a 65-year-old man or a 25-year-old youth. As more and more attributes are bestowed on these patients, more and more people will be called in to help reach a decision that simply is not a physician's decision.Man's mind, although it might sound strange, dislikes symmetry, eg, dilemmas.