The Doctor's DilemmaBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7366.721 (Published 28 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:721
- Howard Brody, professor of family practice and medical ethics.
- Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, Michigan State University, USA
George Bernard Shaw
Penguin, £7.99, pp 192
George Bernard Shaw, in The Doctor's Dilemma (1911), both undermines and reinforces a rounded view of the good doctor. The play introduces one character, Sir Ralph Bloomfield Bonington—“cheering, reassuring, healing by the mere incompatibility of disease or anxiety with his welcome presence. Even broken bones, it is said, have been known to unite at the sound of his voice.” Sir Ralph (known as BB) is kindly but sadly deficient in medical knowledge. The play's physician protagonist, Sir Colenso Ridgeon, is able to murder the husband of the woman he …