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Martha A. Hellems, MD, MS



Risky Business, Part 2: Communicating Medical Risks to Patients and Parents

October 01, 2008

Practicing pediatricians commonlytalk with patients and parentsabout medical risks. Examples of suchrisks include those of a newborn havinga genetic disease, of a complication of anillness developing, and of a patient experiencingan adverse effect from a medicationor vaccine. Different ways of expressingand communicating risk mayhelp patients and parents understand themagnitude of a risk and make informed,thoughtful decisions about their medicalcare. It is important to be aware of theinfluence personal experience and concernshave on how risk is perceived andto recognize how the choice of a particularway of framing a risk may inadvertentlycommunicate a clinician's personalbiases in a situation.

What the Numbers Suggest - and What They Mean

July 01, 2008

ABSTRACT: Practicing pediatricians make many clinical decisions each day in the courseof patient care. For each decision, risks and benefits must be weighed. It is important,therefore, to be able to understand different measures of increased or decreased risk.It is also important to be able to talk with patients and their parents about risk. Thisreview of various ways of expressing risk is offered with the goal of making it easierfor pediatricians to incorporate measures of risk into clinical decision making.