The dependence of informed decisions in these difficult fields on a continuing dialogue between public and profession was stressed, and the possibility of a series of medical 'Pugwash' conferences was mentioned as a potentially useful instrument of such discussions.
The resulting forum organised by the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust was the opportunity to discuss a number of situations in which the interests of the individual patient and thus of the society of which he is a member are in conflict - situations where the physician's traditional devotion to the individual patient might from one point of view even be regarded as antisocial.
The subjects discussed emphasise the preoccupations of those concerned in making the selection. They include the long-term eugenic problems inseparable from the survival to reproductive age of treated subjects of hereditary diseases; the care of children and adults with profound mental subnormality; the quality of survival in infants treated surgically for grave congenital deformities; the value and socio-economic implications of intensive therapy, renal dialysis, and transplantation; the care of the aged; the intractable social problems posed by aggressive psychopathy; and finally a wise and judicial essay by Dr Paul Beeson on the quality of survival.
McLachlan G (1972) Patient, doctor, society: Symposium of introspections. Nuffield Trust.