- Subject index
This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.
Chapter 26: Medical Uncertainty Revisited
Medical Uncertainty Revisited
Uncertainty is inherent in medicine. Scientific, technological, and clinical advances change the content of medical uncertainty and alter its contours, but they do not drive it away. Furthermore, although medical progress dispels some uncertainties, it uncovers others that were not formerly recognized, and it may even create new areas of uncertainty that did not previously exist.
The theme of medical uncertainty pervades the medical literature. It is also a major motif in the medical sociological literature. In both contexts, uncertainty is not only regarded as a challenging and problematic constant, but also as a matter of serious concern because of the adverse ways it affects the work and role responsibilities of physicians and the fate of patients. Uncertainty complicates and curtails ...