November 13, 1987

Fleeting Wisdom

Author Affiliations

New York

New York

JAMA. 1987;258(18):2527. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400180061015

To the Editor.—  I offer a comment regarding the article entitled "Fleeting Wisdom."1 The implication of the article was that no treatment should have been instituted for a basal cell carcinoma in a 106-year-old man who died of medical complications following surgical removal. As a practicing dermatologist, I think a better approach to this patient would have been outpatient biopsy followed by radiation therapy. Outpatient surgery with healing by secondary intention, while giving good results, would have been a distant second choice. The error was not in treating, but in bringing him into the hospital for over-elaborate treatment.