Medicine: Specialty for Losers

Trained to regard death as the enemy they must defeat at all costs, doctors regularly resort to heroic measures to keep their patients alive. Often they perform radical surgery or use complex machines to maintain a flicker of life in people so old or ravaged as to be beyond caring. But does death always represent defeat? No, says Dr. William Poe, a professor of community medicine at Duke University. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Poe not only takes issue with the "winning psychology" of most medical specialties but suggests the creation of a new discipline, the practitioners of...

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