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ARTICLE |

Clinical Judgment: A Critical Appraisal

Robert M. Veatch, PhD
JAMA. 1980;244(1):84. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010064041.
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ABSTRACT

For a concept that cuts to the core of medicine, clinical judgment is remarkably unanalyzed. Engelhardt, Spicker, and Towers have edited a volume of fascinating papers orginally prepared for the First Transdisciplinary Symposium on Philosophy.

Though virtually every physician believes that clinical judgment is the crucial technique in medicine, few probably could define it, much less defend it against some striking criticisms that are presented here.

The authors, coming primarily from medicine and philosophy, seem to be of three opinions. One group assumes that clinical judgment deserves its high place in the physician's world and then proceeds to analyze it. Whether from the standpoint of the clinician (Cassell) or the systems analyst (Potchen et al), the goal is a deeper understanding of what takes place when a physician makes judgments called clinical.

The more challenging essays come from two groups of authors who question the foundations and assumptions of clinical

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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