Judgment of Solomon

by Adam Possner, MD1 [+] Author Affiliations
Poetry and Medicine/JAMA December 4, 2013, Vol 310, No. 21

pills images.jpeg

One day two supplicants
came before my patient
while he sat on his throne
at his kitchen table.

One was a near-empty
medication bottle;
the other an unpaid
electricity bill.

Sir, pleaded the bottle,
you must refill your pills.
Not so, countered the bill.
You must choose paying me.

Nonsense! yelled the bottle.
Your health is paramount.
Said the bill: What are pills
if you freeze in your home?

For an hour my patient
weighed these opposing views,
weighed them in wisdom gained
from living hand to mouth.

Finally he stood up,
got a pen and a knife,
paid the bill, then cut in
half the pills, which were scored.

Contributed by Michael Huntington, MD