Steven Hatch is the author of Snowball in a Blizzard: A Physician’s Notes on Uncertainty in Medicine. From his Q & A with Julie Beck for The Atlantic:
Julie Beck: There seems to be a real disconnect between the way the public (and doctors sometimes, too) think about medicine—as a field that gives you answers—and what the field really is, which seems to be more just trying to minimize uncertainty as best we can.--Marshal Zeringue
Steven Hatch: I think one of the reasons why we have this issue in medicine is: To become a doctor you go through this weeding-out process where you go to your chemistry classes and biology classes and take the MCATs. All of those, for the most part, are situations in which the person who gets the most right answers is rewarded. By the time you get to med school, you’re already primed to think that everything is about a right answer. Then what happens when you get into the practice of medicine is, it’s a lot of fuzzy variables.
Beck: Does the Socratic method, and the focus on having the answers ready at hand whenever you're asked, instill that in some ways?
Hatch: Yeah, I think that’s right. In med school that gets primed, especially with the Socratic method and this old term we have called pimping.
Beck: What's that? Literally pimping, like P-I-M-P?
Hatch: Yeah. I have no idea...[read on]