WIN Wyoming

Thought Bullets
July 2006

Evidence-based Medicine

I remember a very dear friend of mine in Cooperative Extension named Mary O. Warren. Mary O passed away a few years ago, but the many life lessons she taught me remain. Mary O offered this insight about patients with a medical problem who go to their family practice physician: about 80-90% of patients get better, regardless of what their doctors do or don’t do; about 1-3% of patients die, regardless of what their doctors do or don’t do; about 10-15% of patients would have gotten better on their own, but recuperated faster thanks to a doctor’s’ intervention. I have no idea if Mary O’s percentages are accurate, but they reflect my experiences with modern medicine. I recently read an article in Business Week entitled “Medical Guesswork.” I was so enthralled by the article I couldn’t put it down, and indeed I read it a second and third time. I highly recommend you read the entire article, but until you have the opportunity to do that, here are a few highlights from the article that caught my attention.

Source:  “Medical Guesswork,” cover story of Business Week online. May 29, 2006.

Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD

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