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May 23, 1977

Method of Choice

Author Affiliations

Editor, Nebraska Medical Journal Lincoln

JAMA. 1977;237(21):2327. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270480067029

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Recently I read two articles that dealt with selection of anesthesia for one particular operation; each author called his system "the method of choice." The two methods were different: one author prescribed three or four agents; the other, five. I have done the same thing (just as well, I think) with one or two agents.

Why each author called his technique a "method of choice" was hazy; both claimed to provide good operating conditions, and that was all. Neither paper offered statistical comparisons with other methods or counting of cases; nothing that might have been measured was measured. Clearly, the words "method of choice" had no justification, serving only to irritate the reader.

There are few methods of choice, unless laid down in documented studies by serious workers. The use of the words "method of choice" without statistical study and proved significance, and without justification, is deplorable. All too often,