Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Diagnostic skill and patient centred care

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 06 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6665

Diagnosis & Prognosis

Physicians treat sickness by probing the past and present (diagnosis), prescribing medicine or surgery, and predicting the future (prognosis). But sometimes physicians are wrong, because they’re so focused on esoteric scientific knowledge, that they ignore plain common sense by overlooking obvious questions, such as the patient’s contact with toxins and addictions, both of which are common causes of sickness. A wise physician knows that knowledge plus common sense is wisdom, but knowledge minus common sense is nonsense. 

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 November 2014
Hugh Mann
New York, USA