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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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A Question of Judgment

A Question of Judgment

(p.191) Chapter 8 A Question of Judgment
The Nature of Clinical Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, a case shows that judgments are very common in medicine. A judgment is an opinion where error is possible. There cannot be rules or quantitative methods for judgment. But judgment is not idiosyncratic. Medical opinions are not just technical judgments-values are involved. Values are given weights. Judgments often involve shared beliefs about the family and society and are not isolated to include only the patient. Medical judgments are also political in that they involve relationships of people to each other and to the institution. The word judgment is often replaced by decision-making, but the term decision-making is inadequate in the face of conflicts of interests. Judgments involve matters of personal importance, conflicts of interest require knowledge of the world. They also require balancing nontechnical values and wider knowledge, or wisdom.

Keywords:   judgment, decision-making, error, values, family, society, conflicts of interest, politics, wisdom

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