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April 1961

Fallible Forecasts: Improbable Outcome in Grave Renal Disease

Author Affiliations

Babies Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Am J Dis Child. 1961;101(4):501-504. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.04020050091013

As the practice of medicine moves proudly and inexorably from an art with scientific overtones toward a science with artistic overtones, it is important that the physician never forget the intuitive part of his profession. Art is defined as an acquired skill, and at its best requires inborn talent, training, and experience. Medical schools presumably select men with the first, give them the second, and expect time to supply the third. Perhaps the experience of persons with special interests can vicariously provide an exposure to unusual situations so that this third item, the time factor, can be reduced.

When a physician, using his scientific skill and training, is forced to make a diagnosis of grave import, it is within his power to reveal to those concerned the "awful truth" like a fearful judgment or to present the "somewhat frightening truth" in fairly gentle garb. Which path he takes will depend

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