Written for both patients and physicians, this book suggests that medical decision-making should be a shared responsibility between doctor and patient. The authors expound the view that the medical profession should accept uncertainty and recognize that feelings are a concern of science.
Much of the frustration and disappointment in medical practice, even the extreme cases where an adversarial relationship arises, grow out of a failure on the part of the patient and/or the doctor to acknowledge uncertainty. "Medical Choices, Medical Chances" is the result of an unusual collaborative effort by a group of health professionals. It grew out of the wake of the holistic health movement, the consumer movement in medicine, and the patient rights movement. Many of these issues seemed to centre on the notion of uncertainty. In "Medical Choices, Medical Chances", medical decision-making is seen as a shared responsibility between doctor and patient, aimed at helping the patient get well and stay well. The authors show how most medical practice is based on what they call the mechanistic paradigm, the model being hard science and the aim to find-the-cause-and-cure-it. They demonstrate how contemporary scientific thought encourages the mutual acknowledgement of uncertainty and recognizes values and feelings to be an inescapable concern of science. The insight this book provides into how decisions are made and better ways of making them will help the reader, not only in medical matters, but in many other areas of human concern.