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Views & Reviews Medical classics

The Doctor's Dilemma

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 02 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:263
  1. Iain McClure, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth
  1. imcclure{at}

    George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish dramatist, arts critic, socialist thinker, and winner of the Nobel prize for Literature in 1925, had a bit of a problem with doctors. By the turn of the 20th century he had formed the opinion that the medical profession was in a terminal state, requiring urgent and heroic intervention. Shaw, one of the greatest British dramatists since Shakespeare, was quite happy to make the first of several subsequent incisions.

    As a founding member of the Fabian movement in 1884, Shaw had set out to transform society by means of a “permeation” (to quote his fellow socialist pioneer Sidney …

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