July 1988

Chiron Speaks: Rationing vs Costs: But What About Morality?

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(7):720. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860190024010

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The interrelationship between rising medical costs and medical morals creates undesirable choices for many physicians as well as legislatures, federal commissions, clergy, and, most recently, the courts.

Payment decreases, projected by the government for physicians on Medicare assignment, may further burden the head and neck surgical oncologist by making it economically unsound to treat the most unfortunate in our society. R. W. Cantrell, MD, a past president of our society and immediate past president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, in a major address entitled "Moral Medicine," eloquently defines medicine as he discusses its unique relationship with morality, ethics, doctor, physician, and surgeon. Dr Cantrell emphasizes that "... at least at its roots, the practice of medicine assumes a spiritual dimension, and physicians who ignore it, do so at their own peril."

Perhaps bare statistics have convinced us there is little choice if the federal budget

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