Views & Reviews From the frontline

Knowing what you don't know

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 03 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:956
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

    The light flashed on my buzzer. I paused for dramatic effect before saying, “Alexander Fleming.” The crowd of parents went wild with clapping. I beamed—we had won, and I had captained our team in the primary school quarter finals of the local “Top of the Form” quiz. I had the sort of memory that retained facts easily and that passes as a type of intelligence. I am like most doctors.

    A decade ago I was an evidence based medicine (EBM) “fact” groupie. I loved the wild swirling data, …

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