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Gac Med Mex. 2004 May-Jun;140 Suppl 1:S23-9.

[The clinic and the general physician].

[Article in Spanish]

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Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


The clinician's activity consists of in the simple words of Dr. Gonzalo Castañeda "knowledge, good deeds and bread winning ". The respective value that clinicians grant to each of these, is variable, but even those whose priority is the latter of the three are obliged to accomplish the other two. Knowledge requires continuous medical education. Effective education requires the ability to separate the "wheat from the chaff". It is important to know how to study. Knowing the patient requires careful collection of symptoms, signs, and paraclinical data, as well as awareness of the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive value of the data, but acknowledgment of the important discrepancies that occur among different observers as well as in the same observer at different times should not be disregarded. Clinical medicine is a scientific art that challenges the reasoning and decision-making abilities of the practitioner, who must apply various diagnostic strategies, the hypothetic-deductive strategy usually being the most important of all. Knowing the disease that the patient bears is not enough: it is equally important to know the patient who bears the disease. In clinical medicine there are no diseases, only diseased people. The biological approach to the patient must be substituted by a biopsycho-social one. The clinician's main objective--to heal, has become enormously fiacilitated by the dramatic progress of modern scientific medicine, which has provided the physician with powerful but dangerous tools. The old Hippocratic aphorism, primum non nocere, should never beforgotten. Equally essential for the clinician is application of evidence-based knowledge applied to diagnostic and therapeutic measures; there should be no room for past attitudes that were supported by empires and the advice of "authorities". A solid and warm patient-physician relationship is a tremendously important aspect of the healer's behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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