The Doctor's Dilemma

The Doctor's Dilemma

by George Shaw

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It is not the fault of our doctors that the medical service of the community, as at present provided for, is a murderous absurdity. That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity. But that is precisely what we have done. And the more appalling the mutilation, the more the mutilator is paid. He who corrects the ingrowing toe-nail receives a few shillings: he who cuts your inside out receives hundreds of guineas, except when he does it to a poor person for practice.
Scandalized voices murmur that these operations are unnecessary. They may be. It may also be necessary to hang a man or pull down a house. But we take good care not to make the hangman and the housebreaker the judges of that. If we did, no man's neck would be safe and no man's house stable. But we do make the doctor the judge, and fine him anything from sixpence to several hundred guineas if he decides in our favor. I cannot knock my shins severely without forcing on some surgeon the difficult question, Could I not make a better use of a pocketful of guineas than this man is making of his leg? Could he not write as well - or even better - on one leg than on two? And the guineas would make all the difference in the world to me just now. My wife - my pretty ones - the leg may mortify - it is always safer to operate - he will be well in a fortnight - artificial legs are now so well made that they are really better than natural ones - evolution is towards motors and leglessness, etc., etc., etc.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781470087661
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 02/16/2012
Pages: 174
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)

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The Doctor's Dilemma 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ErasmusBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This edition of `The Doctor¿s Dilemma: A tragedy¿ comprises of a preface, which consists of a rather long commentary on the behaviour and scandal of doctors during the turn of the twentieth century, and a play, which typifies Bernard Shaw¿s wit and skill as satirist. The criticisms in the preface may not seem to be pertinent to modern medicine, however, I did feel that they were relevant in the wider debate surrounding alternative medicines such as homeopathy today. ¿And every hypochondriacal rich lady or gentleman that can be persuaded that he or she is a lifelong invalid means anything from fifty to five hundred pounds a year to the doctor.¿ The role of the private practitioner as a trusted authority is compromised by the financial incentives involved by keeping patients ill for longer.In the play, the `dilemma¿ faced by Sir Colenso Ridgeon (who is the exceptional case of a doctor who does make `a very notable contribution to science¿) is whether to treat a young, morally bankrupt but incredibly talented artist or to treat a poor, honest but slightly dull, doctor friend of his. The plot is complicated by the fact that Ridgeon is in love with the artist¿s doting wife. I found that the play was hugely enjoyable and made me laugh out loud in many places, which was more than enough compensation for the fact that none of the characters were all that likeable.