Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor.—Although it is difficult
to argue with reminding physicians of their essential duties of "listening,
witnessing, and relieving suffering" when caring for their patients, I have
major reservations concerning Dr Goodwin's1
use of chaos theory as an important means to achieve these goals.
First, chaos theory is still a theory, and as such its major value lies
in helping those physicians who are so inclined cope with their inability
to understand why certain things happen the way they do. Unfortunately, a
major limitation of the application of this theory to the practice of medicine
is the inability to distinguish problems that are potentially solvable from
those that may not be because of their chaotic nature. Without appropriate
tools to help determine when the use of chaos theory is appropriate, the practical
application of this theory to the everyday practice of medicine is problematic
if not impossible.
Manian FA. Modern Medicine and Chaos Theory. JAMA. 1998;279(11):835-836. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-11-jac80001