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In harm's way

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:E318
  1. Douglas Kamerow, editor

    In 1859, Florence Nightingale echoed Hippocrates when she wrote that “the very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.” It is a laudable but probably unachievable goal. Perhaps the best we can aim for is a favorable balance between benefits and harms, but that assumes we can measure each of them. As we learn from a number of articles in this issue, balancing benefits and harms is often a complicated business.

    In order to compare benefits and harms we must …

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