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Medical Dilemmas

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As a young man, Barron Lerner was dismayed to learn that his physician father had prevented an end-stage patient from receiving CPR. But when Lerner became a doctor himself, he soon realized that he, too, would face many tough choices. We’ll talk to him this hour about the moral decisions physicians must make, which he writes about in his book, The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical Ethics (Beacon Press).

  • Christopher_Graves

    In regard to the issue raised by Dr. Lerner of his father changing his
    mind about how aggressive his treatment should be once he became ill
    later in his life, this case should remind us of what existential
    philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre pointed us to, and that is no one
    knows what he will do until he/she is placed in a concrete situation.
    It is foolish and even dangerous to speculate outside of an abstract
    discussion, where all of the participants in the conversation realize
    that everyone is speaking in the abstract, about what one would want in
    the case of severe injury or illness. Contrary to what Dr. Lerner
    decided for his father, admittedly against the best judgement of his
    father in the moment, abstract speculation is not what one really
    believes. Rather, what one chooses in the concrete situation as he acts
    is what one really believes.

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