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April 11, 1966

Hall of Mirrors

JAMA. 1966;196(2):193. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100150139051

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Of the many novels written about doctors, only relatively few have been written by doctors, and of these only a small number have high literary merit. Hall of Mirrors belongs to this latter category.

The interest lies on two planes. The subtitle "Doctors on Trial" refers first of all to the antagonists engaged in a libel suit. But the "trial" also refers to the medical profession as a whole, which comes under significant implied criticism. The plot—thoroughly absorbing and maintaining its suspense to the very end—concerns a libel action which followed the death of a prominent political figure. The illness had been misdiagnosed. A surgeon, deeply involved with computer technique, alleged that had the physician in charge used an available computer (the novel takes place in the future) this might have provided a diagnosis. There was the insinuation that, considering the puzzling features of the case, failure to use such

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