Title

The Painful Prescription: a Procrustean Perspective?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-22-1986

ISSN

0028-4793

Publisher

Massachusetts Medical Society

Language

en-US

Abstract

The United States and Great Britain have often been called two countries divided by a common language. In the field of medicine, common language facilitates comparisons, but it can obscure basic value differences as well. Henry Aaron, Ph.D., and William Schwartz, M.D., in their influential book The Painful Prescription: Rationing Hospital Care,1 analyzed how and why Britain (as compared with the United States) has apparently limited the use of such high-technology procedures as kidney dialysis, CT scans, coronary-artery surgery, x-ray films, and intensive care beds. The authors then speculated about whether similar responses will be forthcoming in this country as more Draconian measures are introduced to contain health care costs.2 , 3

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