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Medical News & Perspectives
April 22, 1983

Medical decision making: analyzing options in the face of uncertainty

JAMA. 1983;249(16):2133-2142. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330400003001

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


A 19-year-old woman with a serious kidney disease needs a transplant. Tests run on her immediate family show that only her 16-year-old brother has sufficient tissue compatibility. Meeting alone with the brother, the physician outlines the personal risks of donating a kidney and explains the benefits for the sister, urging the boy to donate but assuring him that, if he declines, the family will simply be told that the boy was biologically unsuitable. The brother decides to decline.