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May 2, 1953


Author Affiliations

Oxford University Press, Inc. 114 Fifth Ave. New York 11.

JAMA. 1953;152(1):76-77. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690010082028

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To the Editor:  —Sir William Osler, during the course of his last public address at Johns Hopkins before leaving for England to accept the chair of medicine at Oxford University, startled the entire country in his discussion of the aged by quoting Trollop's novel, "The Fixed Period," in which, after a year of rest, men of 60 were peacefully disposed of by chloroform. Dr. Osler amplified this subject in his own inimitable, witty style with the result that newspaper headlines the next day read "Osler Recommends Chloroform at Sixty." In looking at our present civilization, one sometimes wonders if the theory of Osler's quoted remark has not been unconsciously accepted. Job applicants of 40 are turned down by business owners of 70; industrial concerns apply age limits for employees; prohibitive taxes make impossible the accumulation of sufficient funds to attain a secure old age; and young executives of 40 discharge

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