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On My Mind
August 24, 2020

Tell Me

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(11):1025. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2878

There is not just one right way to practice medicine. But there are almost certainly wrong ways. Thankfully, patients are resilient, especially children. As a rule, they get better, even when physicians do not get it exactly right. One attending physician during my residency aptly captured this reality with an acronym he often used: GAWI, which means Got Away With It. Maybe your antibiotic choice for the patient was not the best one, or you waited too long to give it. Your patient did ok in the end, but the care you provided was still wrong. That is a GAWI.

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1 Comment for this article
Honesty Is Best for Known and Unknown GAWI and WIST
Michael McAleer, PhD (Econometrics) ,Queen's | Asia University, Taiwan
The honest and sensitive declaration by a caring pediatrician on known and unknown "Got Away With It" (GAWI) and "Will I Sleep Tonight" (WIST) outcomes reflect on the issue that honesty is always the best policy for the physician and their patient.

In many countries, physicians will not always inform their patients of serious diagnoses that affect morbidity and mortality in order to "spare the patient unnecessary stress and anxiety", which is a denial of informed consent.

GAWI might, in fact, be "Got Away With It Somehow" (GAWIS), but maybe only this time?

If only all physicians
could be so humble and compassionate.