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Decisions in medical contexts have immediate and obvious consequences in terms of health and sometimes death or survival. Medical decisions also have less obvious and less immediate consequences, including effects on the long-term physical and mental well-being of patients, their families, and caregivers, as well as on the distribution of scarce medical resources. Some of these consequences are hard to measure or estimate. Even harder, perhaps, is the determination of the relative value of different consequences. How should consequences be evaluated? How do uncertainties and biases affect our evaluations? What influence should our evaluations of consequences have on our actions? These questions are all philosophical in nature.

Consequences and Value

To evaluate something is most basically to determine its value or to determine its effect on that ...

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