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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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Examine Your Presuppositions and Preconceptions

Examine Your Presuppositions and Preconceptions

(p.131) Chapter 6 Examine Your Presuppositions and Preconceptions
The Nature of Clinical Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, examples are presented of when presuppositions and preconceptions about patients can lead to life-threatening errors. Definitions, what they are and how they arise, particularly in medicine, are also discussed. Perception is a judgment; presupposition may arise from a history of disease or misconceptions about a disease. Bias and prejudice concerning patients are common and sometimes lead to serious error. It is thus important to avoid judging by stereotypes. Unfortunately, this is common in the care of the elderly. Aesthetic preconceptions are associated with ugly and beautiful patients. Physicians in training commonly see “us versus them,” which leads to bias. Often the medical world is viewed versus the life-world.

Keywords:   presuppositions, preconceptions, definitions, medical error, bias, prejudice, aesthetics, misconceptions

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