August 24, 1984

An Epitaph for Merlin and Perhaps for Medicine: Some Necessary Observations About Life and the Healing Art

Author Affiliations

Professor Emeritus University of Cincinnati College of Medicine


by Sylvan Lee Weinberg, 94 pp, paper, $9.95, Philadelphia 19102 (1420 Locust St), Charles Press, 1984.

JAMA. 1984;252(8):1063-1064. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350080063033

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Merlin was the name of the Weinberg family's beloved golden retriever, who was nearly 14 years old when he died. I have heard that no dog's life ever ends happily, which in the context of this review may be regarded metaphorically, as a commentary on the outcome of the path that medical practice is following.

Weinberg, who practices cardiology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio, has collected 20 of his charming essays in this little volume. A number of them were written as editorials for Dayton Medicine (Montgomery County Medical Society), and were addressed to the maladies that afflict our medical care system. They concern mainly the withering of the art of medicine, and the preference for the technician under the aegis of governmental and corporate enterprise, whose participants would have us remade in their image.

Weinberg depicts some of the