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The Nature of Clinical MedicineThe Return of the Clinician$
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Eric Cassell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199974863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199974863.001.0001

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Observation, Prognosis, and Prognosticating

Observation, Prognosis, and Prognosticating

(p.241) Chapter 10 Observation, Prognosis, and Prognosticating
The Nature of Clinical Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Oxford University Press

Predicting the future, or prognostication, is essential to living everyday life. Prognostication is also as important as ever in medicine. This vital function of physicians requires knowledge of medical science, pathophysiology, and the life history of a disease. Observation is critical to knowing changes in patients and the pace of changes. Observation is a difficult skill, as is recording it. Observation involves aesthetic aspects, which are discussed in this chapter. There are levels of observation in clinical medicine-first the whole patient and everyday function (walking, moving, talking). The clinician also needs to notice behaviors, what the patient looks like. The clinician can learn to predict by practicing, for instance, what a wound will look like tomorrow. Prognosis is a prediction, and not only about death. Predicting death, however, is special, because death is special for patients and physicians.

Keywords:   prognostication, observation, everyday life, aesthetics, levels of observation, prediction, death

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