The Doctor's Dilemma - By Bernard Shaw - A Classic. The Doctor's Dilemma is a play by George Bernard Shaw first staged in 1906. The eponymous dilemma of the play is that of the, newly honoured doctor, Sir Colenso Ridgeon, who has developed a revolutionary new cure for tuberculosis. However, his private medical practice, with limited staff and resources, can only treat ten patients at a time. From a selection of fifty patients he has selected ten he believes he can cure and who, he believes, are most worthy of being saved. However, when he is approached by a young woman, Jennifer Dubedat, with a deadly ill husband, Louis Dubedat, he admits he can, at a stretch, save one more patient, but that the individual in question must be shown to be most worthy of being saved. However, the situation is complicated when an old friend and colleague reveals, he too, needs treatment. Sir Colenso must choose which patient he will save: a kindly, altruistic poor medical colleague, or an extremely gifted but also very unpleasant, womaniser, bigamist and amoral young artist. Sir Colenso falls instantly in love with the young and vivacious Mrs Dubedat and this makes it even harder for the doctor to separate his motives for the decision of who shall live. The extensive preface to the play points out that there is another dilemma: poor doctors are easily tempted to perform costly but useless (and in the best case harmless) operations or treatments on their patients for personal gain. "Could I not make a better use of a pocketful of guineas than this man is making of his leg?" This was reportedly inspired by the behaviour of a prominent Ear Nose and Throat specialist in London who had developed a simple and harmless operation to remove the uvula. This did not benefit any of his patients but made the surgeon a great deal of money.