Bioethics News

When Doctors Should Say ‘I Don’t Know’

March 3, 2016

(The Atlantic) – “Many of us take for granted that we live in an age of medicine where, to put it quite simply, we know what we are doing,” writes Steven Hatch in his new book Snowball in a Blizzard: A Physician’s Notes on Uncertainty in Medicine. Doctors’ tools, knowledge, and treatments have improved since the bloodletting days, and we now have the ability to scan and analyze the body down to the cellular level. But “precision is not the same thing as certainty,” Hatch writes, and often, doctors are just making guesses based on the best evidence they have—a measuring of risks and benefits and probabilities that can be easily influenced by their preconceptions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.