October 1st 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.