In the 1960s, medical procedures and technologies, especially in the area of organ transplantation, posed questions that appeared to some physicians–and to even more nonphysicians–to go beyond the fundamental principles of medical ethics or the expertise of the doctor and to require societal intervention. The technological developments that called into question the sovereignty of physicians over medical ethics and decision making involved kidney dialysis, one of the earliest and most successful of life-saving interventions. To answer the question about allocation of this scarce resource, the Seattle physicians asked the county medical society to appoint a lay committee of seven "quite ordinary people" to determine "life or death". The committee was a symbolic representation of the hope that a scarce resource could be distributed without abdicating all ethical responsibility, that life and death were not arbitrary, that the "good" people should first be spared suffering.