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Letters |

Ethics of Parsimonious Medicine

David A. Fleming, MD, MA; Lois Snyder Sulmasy, JD
JAMA. 2013;309(21):2209-2210. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5570.
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To the Editor: We read with interest the Viewpoint by Drs Tilburt and Cassel1 on the ethics of parsimonious medicine vs rationing. We agree that parsimonious medical care should be distinguished from rationing and that parsimony is a virtue to which all physicians should strive in the practice of medicine.2

However, we disagree with the statement in the article that “Both parsimonious medicine and rationing aim to reduce resource use.” The aim of medical parsimony is to provide the care necessary for the patient's good, not to reduce resource use (although it may in addition preserve resources3)—a difference in intention that helps form the foundation for the ethical distinction between parsimonious medicine and rationing.

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June 5, 2013
Jon Tilburt, MD; Christine Cassel, MD
JAMA. 2013;309(21):2209-2210. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5573.
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