Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 1, 2001 - Medical - 374 pages
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This groundbreaking book explains prognosis from the perspective of doctors, examining why physicians are reluctant to predict the future, how doctors use prognosis, the symbolism it contains, and the emotional difficulties it involves. Drawing on his experiences as a doctor and sociologist, Nicholas Christakis interviewed scores of physicians and searched dozens of medical textbooks and medical school curricula for discussions of prognosis in an attempt to get to the core of this nebulous medical issue that, despite its importance, is only partially understood and rarely discussed.

"Highly recommended for everyone from patients wrestling with their personal prognosis to any medical practitioner touched by this bioethical dilemma."óLibrary Journal, starred review

"[T]he first full general discussion of prognosis ever written. . . . [A] manifesto for a form of prognosis that's equal parts prediction-an assessment of likely outcomes based on statistical averages-and prophecy, an intuition of what lies ahead."óJeff Sharlet, Chicago Reader

"[S]ophisticated, extraordinarily well supported, and compelling. . . . [Christakis] argues forcefully that the profession must take responsibility for the current widespread avoidance of prognosis and change the present culture. This prophet is one whose advice we would do well to heed."óJames Tulsky, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine
  

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Death foretold: prophecy and prognosis in medical care

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In this important book on the issue of medical prognostication, Christakis explains that even though doctors commonly encounter situations that require a prognostic diagnosis, they feel poorly ... Read full review

Contents

PROGNOSIS IN MEDICINE
1
MAKING USE OF PROGNOSIS
30
ERROR AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN PROGNOSTICATION
64
PROFESSIONAL NORMS REGARDING PROGNOSTICATION
84
TELLING PATIENTS THEIR PROGNOSIS
107
THE SELFFULFILLING PROPHECY
135
THE RITUALIZATION OF OPTIMISM AND PESSIMISM
163
A DUTY TO PROGNOSTICATE
179
ORIGINAL SOURCES OF DATA
201
DETAILED SURVEY EXPERIMENT RESULTS
209
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
229
NOTES
233
BIBLIOGRAPHY
283
INDEX
309
Copyright

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References to this book

Disputing Doctors
Mulcahy
Limited preview - 2003
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About the author (2001)

Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor of medicine and sociology at the University of Chicago.

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