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Western New England College, School of Law




Jay Katz introduces his remarkable and insightful book, The Silent World of Doctor and Patient, by recounting a portion of Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. He describes an encounter between a patient, Oleg Kostoglotov, and his doctor, Dr. Ludmilla Afanasyevna. The doctor wanted to use experimental hormone treatment, but the patient refused. Katz argues that what made conversation impossible between them was the patient's undisclosed intention of leaving the hospital to treat himself with "a secret medicine, a mandrake root from Issyk Kul." He could not trust the doctor with this information because the doctor would make the decision for the patient in any event, because the doctor believed, "doctors are entitled to that right ... without that right there'd be no such thing as medicine."'



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