March 28, 1966


JAMA. 1966;195(13):1146. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100130120037

A popular fancy of a decade ago was that the man who lived beyond his probable stay on earth was living on borrowed time. It was a genial conceit, implying some good fortune for the recipient of the loan, without naming the bank or other agency that supplied the funds. The doctor was never named as the fiscal manager.

The number of individuals in this status has increased dramatically within the decade. Effective heart surgery now finds several thousand persons in the United States, and remission states in leukemia provoked by treatment are no longer novelties.

The drama is not in the numbers, because the longer and larger life brought about by the introduction of antibiotics is now responsible for the presence of millions of living, who were otherwise six feet under. Within a short generation the populace has discovered its "right" to a longer antibioticized life. The discoverers are

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