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April 4, 1977

Controversy in Surgery

JAMA. 1977;237(14):1494. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270410094037

It is gratifying to see the appearance of this outstanding text, a companion to the very popular and effective Controversy in Internal Medicine. As Shannon notes in the foreword to this very readable and incisive volume: "One mark of an educated man is his ability to differ without becoming angry, sarcastic, or discourteous. Such a man recognizes that in contingent matters there will also be a place for legitimate difference of opinion." The editors emphasize at the outset that the clinical anecdote—"in my experience"—has little current stature in the hierarchy of evidence. Therefore, they have urged contributors to present as much hard data as possible to substantiate their points of view. Thirty different topics of current controversy have been selected and differing points of view presented.

Some of the subjects discussed by authors with opposing points of view include (1) bowel preparation for resection of the colon, (2) the rationale