When I was in graduate school, there was a class called, “Knowing, Not Knowing, and Muddling Through.” This excerpt from Dr. Gawande’s book “Complications” reminds me of that.
I’ve been on spring break this week, so instead of writing my own post, I’ve decided to share another excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Dr. Atul Gawande. Gawande discusses the difficulty—and the inevitability—of uncertainty in medicine, something for which both doctors and patients have not been well socialized to handle . . .
“Seeing patients with one of the surgery professors in his clinic one afternoon, I was struck by how often he had to answer his patients’ questions, “I do not know.” These are four little words a doctor tends to be reluctant to utter. We’re supposed to have the answers. We want to have the answers. But there was not a single person he did not have to say those little words to that day.
There was the patient who had come in two weeks after an abdominal hernia repair: “What’s this pain I feel next…
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