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July 28, 1989


Author Affiliations

Winnetka, Ill

Winnetka, Ill

JAMA. 1989;262(4):556. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430040128042

It seems to be getting harder and harder for the layperson to make the necessary, crucial medical decisions only he or she can make. Costs have risen, of course. Ethical questions are more complex. And the growth of scientific technology has made many things more difficult to understand. The voice of common sense, of humane reason, does not come through with the strength we might like.

Not that I have anything against the strides made in medicine. High-tech medicine stood me in good stead in my first brush with laryngeal cancer 10 years ago, and it seemed to be doing well in managing a recurrence that appeared last fall. But suddenly, this April, as I struggled to recover from radiation therapy, all of my energy, appetite, and strength seemed to go. A CT scan confirmed the worst suspicion: a new tumor was growing in my neck between the airway and