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October 21, 1974

Dilemmas and Solutions

Author Affiliations

Athens, Ga
From the Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Georgia, Athens.

JAMA. 1974;230(3):401-403. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030019018

RECENTLY, the popular press has carried articles dealing with the biomedical sciences and technology, and human values. It is stated that physicians seem perplexed by some of the complicated moral decisions thrust on them in the practice of their profession. Situations such as the following are said to generate moral dilemmas that cannot be easily, if at all, sequestered in a physician's daily work.

  1. An infant is born with a critical physical defect that is not correctable given current medical knowledge and technology. What should the attending physician do?

  2. Two persons need a kidney transplant in order to survive, but there is only one kidney available. How can the surgeon determine which candidate will undergo surgery?

  3. A person needs an immediate heart transplant, but at the time there are no available hearts. However, a patient has made provisions to donate his heart on death. This patient is,