Medicine: Too Many Miracles

Of all the daring operations devised by modern surgeons, few have seemed more exciting than "replantation"—the reattachment of a completely severed arm or leg to the body. But, worries the current Journal of the American Medical Association, such operations have become all too popular: too many doctors try them without recognizing the disadvantages for some patients.

Surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital started the trend in 1962 when they successfully reattached the severed right arm of Little League Pitcher Everett Knowles Jr. "There was something for everyone in the tale of the red-haired teen-ager," says a Journal editorial. "The public could indulge their...

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