Why don't medical textbooks teach? The lack of logic in the differential diagnosis.
SourceNetherlands Journal of Medicine, 61, 11, (2003), pp. 383-387
Article / Letter to editor
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Netherlands Journal of Medicine
SubjectEBP 2: Effective Hospital Care; EBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health; UMCN 4.1: Microbial pathogenesis and host defense
Medical textbooks are an important aid in the process of diagnosing and treating patients. Medical students use these books to acquire the skills necessary for this process, while medical teachers and experienced doctors use them for teaching these competences. We posed the question whether medical textbooks are structured in such a way that medical students are taught to structure knowledge and to make a differential diagnosis in a logical way. Five major textbooks were compared with regard to four clinical problems (gastrointestinal bleeding, anaemia, oedema and heart failure). The presentation appeared to be very variable in respect of logic and systematic arrangement. In fact, it was disappointing that even in well-reputed textbooks, a systematic approach is lacking. We feel there is a need for improvement, in order to facilitate the learning of medical students and to enhance their abilities in clinical problem solving.
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