We’ve come a long way towards believing that the doctor ain’t god, and also that some patients are just not going to get well. You can find an interesting contrast to that attitude in an instructive, but perhaps obscure, source: Stefan Zweig’s novel, Beware of Pity, where Dr. Condor (who seems pretty clearly a mouthpiece for the author), unburdens himself on the concept of “incurable” in medicine.
Zweig is a provocative source for this sort of thing because he is writing about
--Stefan Zweig, Beware of Pity 139
(NRB Classsics paperback ed. 2006)
When Condor/Zweig speaks of philosophers, I wonder if he is thinking of another famous Viennese—the one who said “"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” (link).