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September 10, 1982

Decision-Making: The Modern Doctor's Dilemma—Reflections on the Art of Medicine

JAMA. 1982;248(10):1249. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330100075051

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


As the potential increases to intervene in the natural history of disease, so does the need to examine the process of intervention itself. How do we choose a diagnostic or therapeutic strategy? How do we provide for consistency in our choices? When values are involved (ours or our patients'), how do we include these in the process of decision making? An important body of literature is developing around these issues. Unfortunately, this book, first published in France, serves only as an unsatisfying appetizer for the substantial food for thought already available in the area of medical decision making.

Readers familiar with the fundamentals of decision theory will be frustrated by the dated perspective reflected in the text and bibliography and by the lack of specific examples to illustrate key concepts. To those unfamiliar with the field, more important than the absence of substance is the unjustified bias toward empiricism as