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February 13, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Orson Wells Fund, Presbyterian Hospital.

JAMA. 1943;121(7):473-478. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840070001001

Whenever told that removal of one kidney is indicated, a patient always, or nearly always, asks three questions: 1. Can I live with only one kidney? 2. Will it shorten my life? 3. Will the removal of one kidney handicap me and limit my work and activities?

It is extremely interesting to note the great regularity with which these questions are asked and, in most instances, they are asked before the question of operative mortality is discussed. It almost seems to be intuitive.

To the first question one answers "yes" without hesitation and cites many instances illustrative of the fact that patients live for a long time after a nephrectomy, and one further fortifies the remark with the statement that some patients are born with only one kidney and live to a ripe old age only to die of some intercurrent disease or some accident. In response to the second

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