Its fundamental premiss is that medicine (defined in its broadest sense to cover clinical medicine, population research, policy development and health management) is about uncertainty and the need to make decisions despite this uncertainty. For example, you have just diagnosed a 58-year-old man with atrial fibrillation. If you prescribe warfarin you can reduce his risk of embolic stroke by 70%, but this benefit comes at the price of an increased risk of haemorrhage, and the need for regular blood tests and avoidance of activities that increase his risk of injury. How do you weigh up the probabilities and incorporate into the decision your patients individual values about what is important to him?
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