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October 7, 1968

Life, Death, and the Doctor

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo

JAMA. 1968;206(2):379. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150020095037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book is slick, easily read, definitely intended for the general public. Almost every currently controversial topic in medicine or human social biology pops up—medical education, sex, birth, death, the law—a real winner! Titles are seductive: "Is the Doctor Fit to Serve Society;" "Have Your Doctor Checked Once a Year;" "Sex Without Fear;" "Procreation, Profits, and Paralysis;" "Silver Rings, Plastic Bows, and Sperm Banks;" "Preparing for Death;" "Samaritans, Semantics, and Secrecy."

Dr. Lasagna has honestly stated his own opinion about many controversial issues. It is healthy for a physician to punctuate public debates with reasoned and factual statements. Perhaps the author tackles too many topics; the book is too long to be taken at a single sitting and it badly needs editing (Harry Cushing, indeed!).

Competition is keen: the Book-of-the-Month Club has recently selected a similar book by a science writer. But, curiously, one searches in vain for specific new