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J Med Philos. 1984 May;9(2):215-28.

Teaching clinical decision making.


Clinical judgment has traditionally been left to be acquired chiefly through personal experience and conversations with experienced practitioners. Given the explosion of knowledge and technology of recent years, a more systematic approach to managing information has become increasingly important. Ethical issues, both of a social and more individual nature, also increasingly demand attention. This paper describes one effort to address these problems through medical education. A three quarter pre-clinical course was revised to incorporate decision analysis and ethical analysis. The approach, results and problems of the two-year-old innovation are discussed, and general recommendations are offered.


The authors describe their approach, problems, and results in conducting a preclinical medical decision making course at Michigan State University. This three-quarter course sequence incorporates the strategies of decision analysis, ethical analysis, and health economics in evaluating information and applying basic science principles to cases involving commonly encountered conditions. Ethical issues considered in case discussions have included euthanasia, suicide, brain death, personhood, treatment refusal, paternalism, autonomy, terminal care, and informed consent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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